The police in North 24-Parganas seek two boons this Puja — more vehicles and more fuel.
With security being a major concern in the festive season, the men in uniform are complaining about the recent reduction in the number of vehicles at police stations and the cap on fuel usage.
If these two wishes cannot be granted, some cycles are what senior officers in Salt Lake seek.
“I do not know how we can check crime and keep vigil on the vast area with two vehicles and eight litres of fuel. At least six vehicles and 40 litres of fuel are required for just a round of the blocks under each police station. So, how shall we perform the other duties'” asked Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police, Salt Lake.
“The population in the township is increasing; several new buildings and establishments, including banks, have come up. If manpower and vehicles are reduced, it will be a tough ask for us to maintain law and order in the township,’’ Nand added.
He argued that Salt Lake could not be compared to other areas of the city. “We have added responsibilities — guarding houses of VVIPs and escorting them, doing duty at Salt Lake stadium during events and guarding government offices,” Nand said. Law and order duties and investigation would be affected, he warned.
Besides, the police have to go to distant places to conduct raids and also ferry arrested persons to court. “I do not know how all this will be possible,’’ Nand said.
The additional superintendent said he had appraised senior state police officials about the problems.
After the government order reached a fortnight ago, officials from three Salt Lake police stations expressed their dissatisfaction. They made it clear that they should not be blamed in case of any major law-and-order problem.
“I got a tip-off early this morning regarding some criminals but failed to respond promptly as the vehicle did not have fuel. I had to pay from my own pocket for a few litres to reach the spot,’’ said a sub-inspector of Bidhannagar South police station. Six policemen in the thana have borrowed cycles from their relatives to carry out their duties, he added.
“What if the fuel tank runs dry in the middle of a chase' Will we carry on by cycle or on foot'’’ exclaimed a senior North 24-Parganas district police official.
However, the government’s purse strings are now too tight for the boons to be granted. State police officials clarified that they had been directed by the finance department to cut down vehicles and fuel usage at least by half.