| Bihar Millitary Police constables use polythene to stay dry at their quarters at Alamganj in Patna City. Picture by Sachin |
The first women’s battalion of Bihar Military Police is facing severe challenges not in the field of duty but in the accommodation facility the constables have been provided.
At their passing out parade on January 17 this year, chief minister Nitish Kumar had saluted them and praised them for choosing an unconventional career.
The battalion has 580 members, divided into different companies that have been posted across the state. The 72 members who have been posted in Patna have been provided accommodation at Alamganj in Patna City.
The quarters, however, have only three rooms to accommodate all of them. “We all have to accommodate ourselves in only three rooms. There is no private space. The beddings are spread at distance of 2cm from each other,” said Kavita Mishra, one of the constables.
If the paucity of space was not enough, the roofs of the rooms are full of leaks and the constables have to take shelter under polythene sheets during showers.
Kavita said: “There was not even a sweeper to clean the bathrooms. We used to do it ourselves. After requesting the senior officers, a sweeper has been made available.”
The quarters have two bathrooms for all the constables. Twelve of the constables are down with dengue. While they blamed the Patna Municipal Corporation for not carrying out fogging in the area, leading to an outbreak of the disease. The civic body officials had, on the contrary, claimed that the BMP quarters were littered with garbage, allowing the dengue mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) to flourish.
“Sarkar ko bas humse ka- am chahiye. Use koi matlab nahi hamari pareshaniyo se (The government only wants us to work. It is not concerned with our problems),” said Kavita.
Her colleague Annu Kumari said: “When the government did not have proper accommodation facility for the women’s battalion, why did it recruit us? It should first have arranged for proper infrastructure. We are not even allowed to move out of the battalion quarters. Many of us wanted to live somewhere else on rent but were not allowed.”
Baban Ram, subedar, BMP, corroborated that constables had to live with the company. “They can, however, apply to the police headquarters to allow them to live somewhere else,” he said.
Ram added that he had informed Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj a month-and-half-ago about the dilapidated condition of the constables’ accommodation.
Asked about it, Maharaj said: “I’ve sent a letter to the Bihar Police Building Construction Corporation, asking them to make an alternative arrangement for the accommodation of the women constables.”