Jaipur“I could not complete my school homework because my house does not have an electricity connection,” 12-year-old Jaya Gameti told Chandmal Singariya, the station house officer of Kotwali police station in Dungarpur district, on January 22.“I go to my neighbour’s house to study or study under a kerosene lamp,” the Class 7 student of senior secondary school at Bori village in the district told the police officer.Two days later, on January 24, Gameti’s house had electricity. When Singariya visited the house in the evening on January 24, he saw Gameti and her younger brother studying under an LED bulb. Singariya was satisfied that his efforts had brought smiles on the faces of little children.“It was something beyond the call of duty, but we felt happy to bring a change to someone’s life,” the SHO says.After he came to know about Gameti’s problem, the SHO apprised the local assistant engineer (AEN) of electricity department about the issue and sought the solution. Singariya told the AEN that he would pay for the electricity connection and monthly bill. However, the police officer was told that the electricity connection for Gameti’s house could be issued free-of-cost, as her family belonged to the BPL category. Within two day’s Gameti’s house had a power connection.It was possible only because of Vatsalya Varta, a special programme started by the Dungarpur police in July last year to strike a rapport with schoolchildren. Under the programme, police officers of the district, from the rank of superintendent of police (SP) to beat constable, visit a school on every Tuesday and interact with students.HT Photo Chandmal Singariya, SHO of Kotwali police station in Dungarpur district, at the house of Jaya Gameti, a Class 7 student of senior secondary school at Bori village in the district.During the interaction, the police personnel talk to students on various issues including their personal problems. “Such stories (like that of Gameti’s) are heartening for us and help improve people’s perception about us,” says Shankar Dutt Sharma, the superintendent of police, Dungarpur, who started the programme.The programme has evolved over past seven months. “Now, students are invited to the police station to understand the working and see what weapons police have and how they are used. Police have also installed ‘Mann Ki Baat Peti’, a box for students, especially girls to write about issues that they are not comfortable discussing with anyone,” Shama said.The SP said that the police officers also motivate students to study so that they can also become worthy of a uniform. “Many of them say they like the police uniform, but are clueless about how to get into the force. We want to tell them from a young age the process. The aim is to make police approachable to them,” the SP said. Weekly offs for cops Dungarpur SP Shankar Dutt Sharma said he has started a pilot project in six police stations of giving everyone in a police station a weekly off. The staff is told to sit together and decide among themselves the days they want to be off duty, Sharma said. “The experiment started this year since January 1. We are excited to see the impact and will soon extend it to all police stations in the district,” he said.