The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Short on money and men

M.H. VARMA, superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas, met readers of The Telegraph at Bidhannagar (North) police station hall. Participants included Diptimoy Ghosh, A.K. Basu, Subir Mondal, Ajoy Pal, Jayanta Nath Saha, N.G. Mazumdar, Sanjoy Guha, Saila Nandi, Premananda Ghosh and Basudeb Bhattacharya

Diptimoy Ghosh: Drivers ply buses within Salt Lake at a snailís space. They stop where they like. But once they reach their respective depots, a mad race begins. They care little for the safety of passengers.

Actually, I functioned as deputy commissioner of traffic in Calcutta, but after taking charge as superintendent, I find a lot of change in the traffic system. Here, till May this year, there was no sub-inspector in the traffic police. Officers were posted much later in Bidhannagar, Lake Town and Nager Bazar. Apart from that, our force is not adequate. We have trained our officers on duty to note down the vehicle numbers and issue letters to the owners to check rash driving. All these steps were quite new to the district.

Second, competition among bus operators is not a new phenomenon. As drivers, conductors and cleaners work on commission, they usually try to carry more passengers without bothering about their suffering. To control this situation, talks are on to appoint staff on salaries and to introduce several other systems, like making drivers pay the spot fines, instead of the owners, as is the present practice.

A.K. Basu: Is Bidhannagar (South) thana considered a punishment posting for policemen'

In some police stations, the infrastructure is very poor. Bidhannagar (South) is on the Jadavpur University campus. There, after much difficulty, some infrastructure could be organised, but more needs to be done. A financial crunch is preventing work from taking off. There is, however, no question of a punishment posting. An officer is posted at a thana going by his work experience.

A.K. Basu: In some thanas, the cops are quite reluctant to take general diaries. Moreover, we feel some of them do not know the law. Some years ago, two cameras were stolen from a house under Bidhannagar (South) jurisdiction. Even after recovery, the owner is not getting them back.

Every officer must take a diary if the complaint is genuine and valid. The owner can get back his cameras only after getting a clearance from court.

Subir Mondal: A plot was earmarked beside WBSEB for Bidhannagar (South) police station. Whatever happened to it'

We have a plot for the police station but no funds. Moreover, it takes a lot of time to get a sanction for a particular job. We are trying our best to push through the police station.

Ajoy Pal: Is there any clear directive on fitting red lights on cars' In Salt Lake, there is a proliferation of such cars. Are all the users authorised'

Actually, some people use red lights on cars as a status symbol, though they are not authorised to do so. We cannot check them as we do not have adequate staff.

N.G. Mazumdar: Salt Lakeís under-construction houses are used by the masons to sleep at night. Sometimes, they bring in outsiders, which leads to petty crime too. Can this be checked'

We are aware of the problem. Sometimes, we round up these people. We keep asking the promoters to issue identity cards to their labourers.

Sanjoy Guha: An autorickshaw stand near the PNB crossing creates traffic problems.

The autos that ply from Karunamoyee to Ultadanga make a stop at the PNB junction. We must check that if it inconveniences residents.

Saila Nandi: We are residents of a Central government housing complex in KB/KC Block. We have our own night guards, for whose services we raised a common fund. Recently, some residents have stopped paying their subscriptions.

We are happy to know that in your area, you have night guards to check theft and other crime. But to tide over the present problem, I shall see that a meeting is held with all the residents present.

Basudeb Bhattacharya: The District Intelligence Office has been shifted to Barasat, which is creating a problem for us.

But we have a unit here in Salt Lake, too. You can carry out the necessary work there.

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