Deployment as per officers’ choice : The Tribune India

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Deployment as per officers’ choice

Deployment as per officers’ choice

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Surinderjit Singh Sandhu

IN the wake of a series of railway mishaps some time ago, a newly appointed Chairman of the Railway Board got a survey conducted and found that most of the staff members entrusted with the maintenance of rail tracks and signals were working at the residences of officers. A director of a government department did a headcount of his Group D employees and was astonished to find that 25 per cent of them were doing chores for retired officers.

During a high-level meeting held at the police lines of a district after the killing of two citizens at the hands of terrorists about four decades ago, a deputy commissioner (DC) said with visible concern: ‘Since such incidents have gone up in the area, we should step up patrolling. The number of barriers in the city as well as rural areas should be increased.’ The SSP said he had already taken up the matter with the DGP for providing more paramilitary personnel. In a whisper, he asked the DC to speak to the Home Secretary for expediting the matter. The SDM said since the communally volatile town had been placed under curfew twice in two months, vigil had to be intensified. The SSP looked at the DSP concerned, who readily answered: ‘Janab, nafri hai nahin (sir, we do not have adequate force).’ The SDM was an outspoken person and would not be satisfied easily. He told the DSP to give details of the deployment of the police. That triggered a verbal duel. The DC controlled the situation with perceptible difficulty.

The construction and commissioning of Dholbaha, Chohal, Mehngrowal and Janauri dams had led to assured irrigation to the perennially barani (rain-fed) land of that tehsil. The SDM had seen police tents pitched at some places, but he had not yet made enquiries to find out whether people were actually living in such deserted areas in those turbulent times. He started gathering details through nambardars, chowkidars and some trustworthy patwaris. He was stumped to know that the DSP, who had vociferously said that an adequate number of police personnel was not available, had purchased 25 acres of land and deployed 10 cops to level it and plant an orchard. High-ranking civil officers, some posted even in New Delhi, had invested in land there and got such tents pitched for the same purpose. It was surprising that so many people were investing in Punjab at a time when it was in the throes of terrorism. The SDM noted down the ownership specifics and the number of policemen and civilians working at such places.

At the next meeting of police officers and magistrates, the SDM divulged the details of the personnel who had been deployed at farmhouses of officers. Suddenly, there was pin-drop silence, much to the discomfort of the officers present. The SDM had surely done his job well.


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