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Law and order last on UPA's agenda: Sukhbir

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar , December 22, 2012
First Published: 17:50 IST(22/12/2012) | Last Updated: 00:37 IST(23/12/2012)

Stressing that law and order of the state was his top priority, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal announced Rs. 100 crore for facelift of the Punjab Police and modernisation.

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The deputy chief minister, who was speaking at the first All India Police Commissioners' Conference, on Saturday said: "Today the war is not at the borders. The war is within the cities and states with a major challenge being curbing crime and drug menace. For that, every state needs a thoroughly professional police force backed with top technical support."

Whatever support the union government gives to the states for policing is too less and cannot change things, he said, adding that law and order seems to be the last item on the agenda of the Congress-led UPA government. "The union home ministry has earmarked only Rs. 1,000-crore budget for modernisation of police force of 28 states and seven union territories and was turning a blind eye to increasing threats of terrorism, naxalism and criminals using cyber techniques to attack the unity and integrity of the country. So it is up to the states to create own resources and give a facelift to the policing structure," added the deputy CM.

Talking of Punjab, he said: "For years, there have always been great expectations from police but nobody has bothered to provide them the technological assistance or required support."

"Four years ago, when I became home minister, I had drawn a blueprint to make the Punjab Police most professional force by building their capacity technically and professionally and also by equipping the force with most professional weaponry," Sukhbir said. "For tackling crime in today's scenario, we have to use latest technology and change the image of police into a friendly yet effective force."

Announcing Rs. 100 crore for the Punjab Police, the deputy CM said: "I am ready to spend even Rs. 200 crore. I can give them whatever they want." While promising all facilities to the Punjab Police, Sukhbir also asked them to deliver. "I will give them whatever they want but after that they are responsible and no negligence will be tolerated. I can create an environment and they have to perform. Recently, a station house officer was dismissed for negligence in the ASI murder case in Amritsar," the deputy CM said.

Suspensions are what police officials and others are used to, he said, adding that: "I think dismissal must be made if a serious lapse is committed by anyone."

The deputy CM said he has ordered installation of 'speed radars' and CCTV cameras on all national and state highways, including main roads, that would capture overspeeding vehicles automatically and that data would be transferred to the centralised server of the transport department and a challan would automatically reach at the residence motor vehicle owner. The deputy CM said he has given a deadline of six months to complete this project.

Talking further, Sukhbir Badal said: "Besides the recruitment of 20,000 police personnel, including 2,902 women constables, completion of 275 Saanjh Kendras and likely completion of 363 more such centres in next two years and covering all cities with CCTV cameras was on the cards."

He added that: "By separating law and order and investigation wings, we would be able to train our investigation wing officers with scientific techniques thereby improving the conviction rate."

Sukhbir said according to a comparison conducted by NCRB, the crime rate in Punjab registered a negative growth of minus 4.8% from 2007 to 2011, while as per ranking of 88 cities done by NCRB, Amritsar registered a decrease of minus 1.4% in crime rate from 2007 to 2011 and Ludhiana, during the SAD-BJP regime, registered a decrease of -20.7%.

The deputy chief minister, who welcomed police officers from across the country, thanked the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) for hosting the first-ever Police Commissioners Conference in Punjab besides inviting the BPR&D to host the same event in Punjab every year. He also presented token of honour to all the delegates participating the conference.

Director general, BPR&D, KN Sharma and Sumedh Singh Saini, DGP, Punjab, and chairman, organising committee, also presented a memento to the deputy chief minister.

Flays lathicharge in Delhi
Claiming a "total breakdown" of law and order situation in Delhi, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the gangrape of 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in the national capital reflected that the beat system and PCR system of police in Delhi has gone for a toss and simmering anger against police apathy and inefficiency has erupted on the roads.

He criticised lathicharge on innocent students, who were registering their protest at Raisina Hill, India Gate and Janpath on Saturday.

Instead of handling this problem sensitively and effectively, brutal crushing of the peaceful protest was reminder of strong arm tactics of the British Raj days, he added.

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