The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lack of man & machine stresses out policemen

Aug. 6: It seems unbelievable, but Silchar police have only two vehicles to help them fight crime.

The trouble of the law-keepers does not end here. Not only are they ill-equipped, they are also understaffed.

Policemen in Silchar rue that there are times when there is a dearth of policemen for routine duties like patrolling, traffic control and crime investigation, as a large number of the force is deployed to guard politicians, top government officials and ministers.

According to a senior police official, as many as 94 from the armed branch of the police of the total 270 present in Silchar, have been assigned for VIP duty.

A senior police official, who had recently joined the force in this district, admitted that the work pressure was getting to him.

The ever-swelling number of crimes, both petty and serious, demands a lot from the officers who find it difficult to tackle the workload.

The officer said cases of murder are more frequent in rural areas where occasional tiffs over the farmlands tend to snowball into killings.

The police officials admit that the thefts and robbery in this district are now very much on the rise.

The police records bring out the grim fact that in the second quarter of the year there were as many as 22 murders and 234 cases of property-related crimes in the district. The figures are bad enough to deliver a rude jolt to the police top brass here.

The weak police infrastructure such as lack of proper vehicles, or a close-knit intelligence-gathering machinery makes it difficult for the officers to fight crime.

The policeman-civilian ratio in Cachar district is 1:1607, one of the lowest in the country.

The official points out that during the past 24 years there has been no addition to the police force in the district even as the population is on the rise.

According to the 2001 national census, the population in Cachar district was nearly 14.24 lakh as against the 1991 figure which showed the district’s population to be 12.15 lakh, confirming the trend of a fast escalation of population in the district.

Silchar Sadar police station in downtown of Silchar town presents a unique example of how a police station strives to wage a losing battle against the ever furtive and elusive bands of criminals.

This station has now only 39 policemen to watch over the wellbeing of about three lakh citizens.

Cachar’s new superintendent of police Violet Barua has stressed the urgency of community policing by taking the help of young men and veterans in crime-prone areas.

It is the only answer they have as of now to tackle crime in such areas.

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