The city is growing like never before and living an hour from the city centre — by choice — is fast emerging as the lifestyle model of the future. As a result, areas that used to be deserted and often dangerous, are emerging as potential housing hotspots.
With building boom taking the expansion route, the security ring is struggling to keep pace with it. One way out, the police brass seem convinced, is to bring more and more police patrols under Lalbazar’s direct control. But now, “logistical constraints” have forced the police headquarters to shelve grand plans of bringing nine police stations in two districts under its fold.
Officials said on Sunday that Bidhannagar North, South and East, Dum Dum, Airport and Lake Town, in North 24 Parganas, and Jadavpur, Kasba, Tiljala, Metiabruz and Regent Park police stations in South 24-Parganas were to be brought under the control of the Calcutta Police. “The proposal, however, failed to take off after a debate over its feasibility,” they admitted.
A few years ago, the plan to bring these police stations under the jurisdiction of the city police was made keeping in mind the fact that homes of most VIPs and ministers of the Left Front government were in North 24-Parganas, especially Salt Lake. The proposal-makers also deliberated that since these thanas were near to Calcutta, controlling crime would become difficult due to jurisdiction problems. Criminals operating near the nine thanas use Calcutta as their hub of activity and flee to their hideouts in the districts, where the city police find it difficult to apprehend them due to jurisdiction problems.
“In Salt Lake, the general administration falls under North 24-Parganas. If the district police stations were brought under Lalbazar’s control, then there would have been a practical problem in administrative functioning,” a senior police official said. “The earlier proposal was in its final stages and the finance department had even given its nod,” he added.
Another proposal to create two new posts of deputy commissioners in north and south Calcutta has also been deferred for the time being due to paucity of funds, sources revealed. “The Second Police Commission also recommended creation of separate police organisations. But financial constraints have forced the authorities to shelve that proposal too,” officials said.
Based on the recommendations, there was a move by a section of the police associations to revive the project recently, but it failed to evoke much response. The police department, as an alternative, has created a new post of the additional superintendent of police, who will look into the affairs of Salt Lake and also coordinate with the district and the Calcutta Police in controlling crime. Regular meetings between the district police and its city counterparts are part of the department’s new plans.