Need dedicated police force for eviction drives: BMC | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Need dedicated police force for eviction drives: BMC

The state government took three years to respond to the civic body's request for a dedicated force to back its anti-encroachment drives. But now when the government has allocated 1,095 police personnel on a three-year deputation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is less than happy.

mumbai Updated: Oct 16, 2011 01:37 IST
Bhavika Jain

The state government took three years to respond to the civic body's request for a dedicated force to back its anti-encroachment drives. But now when the government has allocated 1,095 police personnel on a three-year deputation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is less than happy.

In 2008, the BMC requested the government to depute policemen to provide security to demolition squads and to keep a vigil on encroachments. It wanted a dedicated force, since police protection was often inadequate or unavailable. The government has finally acceded to the demand and allocated personnel to the BMC. But the provision comes with a rider — the police team is on a three-year deputation and will be controlled by the home department. This effectively means that the team can be deputed elsewhere, if the home department wants.

"This means that the policemen would not be available all the time. Given the needs of the police department, these policemen could be called back frequently. What is the point," asked a civic official, not wanting to be named. Additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani said, "We would like the team to be under the control of the municipal commissioner. We will write to the government with our views of the proposal."

The civic body is currently taking action against hawkers outside railway stations. However, the onus of keeping the pavements free of encroachment is with the police, say BMC officials. "After our drive, local police are supposed to ensure that pavements stay free of hawkers. They are unable to ensure this, possibly because of a staff crunch. Once we get a dedicated squad, these drives will be more effective," said deputy municipal commissioner (removal of encroachments) Vijay Balamwar.

The BMC's proposal also asks for three police stations — one each in the island city, western and eastern suburbs — specifically to handle matters related to encroachments and illegal constructions.