The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Plan to deploy tourist police

Calcutta, Nov. 21: The government is contemplating deployment of policemen exclusively for the safety of tourists in holiday hotspots across the state.

Tourism minister Dinesh Dakua said at Writers’ Buildings today that he has already had preliminary talks on the issue with the police department. “We are thinking of introducing the police on the lines of Maharashtra and Kerala. To begin with, we have thought of plainclothesmen at three places — Digha, Darjeeling and Siliguri,” he said.

Dakua added that the issue was first discussed after an incident of gang-rape in Digha. “We sought information from Mumbai and Kerala. They told us surveillance teams moved about in tourist spots there to prevent guests from being heckled,” he said.

Apart from the police, Dakua has met officials from the transport department with complaints from tourists regarding harassment by taxi drivers and coolies at Howrah, Sealdah and New Jalpaiguri stations and the Dumdum airport.

“We have received several complaints, including one from a London-based NRI, regarding harassment at the hands of taxi drivers and porters. Stories of these incidents spread by word of mouth and give the state a bad name,” the minister said.

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