More than 81 vacancies within Bokaro police have forced SP Kuldeep Dwivedi to spend his days shuttling between the steel town and Bermo that houses some of the most sensitive Maoist zones of the district, including Gomia, Nawadih, Petarwar and Kasmar blocks.
While four senior police officers were transferred out of Bokaro in one go, there are only 102 sub-inspectors — 18 of them will retire in two years — in the district police that is supposed to have as many as 174.
Dwivedi agreed that the vacancies were a major problem, but insisted that they weren’t letting their guard down because of that.
“I have taken over the command till others join here at Bokaro,” he said. “Additionally, I have also asked security forces like the CRPF and others posted in Maoist zones to be more alert in the coming months that will see festivals of Durga Puja, Diwali and Chath.”
According to sources, among the senior police officers who were transferred were DSP P.N Singh, inspectors R.N. Kunwar (Bermo) and Satish Chandra Jha (Gomia) and ASP V. Ramesh (Bermo) — all recipients of President’s medals.
But so far, none of these vacancies has been filled leaving a huge hole in the security apparatus of a region that has seen more than 32 Maoist encounters in the last seven years in which more than 34 security men belonging to CRPF, Cobra and Jharkhand Armed police (JAP) have been killed and more than 45 policemen injured.
Bokaro is manned by only five inspectors against a sanctioned strength of 11. Bermo, which is supposed to have four inspectors, has none even though areas like Jhumra, Upar Ghat, Gomia, Mahuatand and Sevati Hills are safe havens for Maoists.
Also, of the seven DSPs sanctioned, Bokaro has only four with only one in Bermo.