The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Smart salute to lady top cop

Chandigarh, June 17: Uttaranchal policemen, click your heels, puff out the chest and snap to salute!

The first woman director-general of police in India took over today, not worrying too much about how men, in a brute majority in the force, would take it.

Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya , an IPS officer of the 1973 batch, is used to men saluting her.

Asked what it feels like, she said on phone: “They have been saluting me for years now. Perhaps the salutes will become smarter.”

Not the salutes alone, Kanchan wants the police force to be smart. “In whichever capacity I have worked, I have tried to do my best to streamline things,” she said.

Udaan, a popular serial on a policewoman’s struggle, is believed to be based on Kanchan’s life. Kavita Chaudhary, Kanchan’s sister, scripted and played her character.

The second woman IPS officer after Kiran Bedi, she was vigilance director before taking over Uttaranchal police. Kanchan started off as an assistant superintendent in Uttar Pradesh and opted for Uttaranchal soon after its creation.

On deputation, she has served in the CISF in Mumbai and the CBI. “For me, it has been a long, hard journey, every bit of which I have enjoyed.”

Kanchan replaced P.D. Raturi, who was shunted out after a tenure marred by bungling in a rape case and a scandal during inspector recruitment last year.

She was chosen over additional director-general R.C. Sharma — senior to her — because of her clean image. The woman officer has a reputation of cracking down on corruption — she once trapped a sub-divisional magistrate taking a bribe — and promises to wield the baton again.

“I know people have a lot of expectation from me as a woman and my first priority would be to have a clean and accessible administration,” she said.

Kanchan has a master’s degree in English Literature and an MBA from Australia’s University of Wollongong.

Born in Himachal Pradesh, Kanchan is married to a Bengali working in Mumbai and has two daughters, Kanika and Kaveri.

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