Uttarakhand government on Wednesday decided to bring all revenue police areas under the ambit of the regular police, weeks after the murder of a receptionist triggered a row over the "inefficient" policing system.
The decision, which will be implemented in a phased manner, was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Secretary S S Sandhu said.
The limited powers of the revenue police and its "ineffectiveness" in case of major crimes like a murder have been a subject of discussion in the state since the Ankita Bhandari murder case led to a public outrage.
The 19-year-old receptionist, who worked at the Vanantara resort in Pauri district, was killed allegedly by her employer and her body was recovered from the Cheela canal close to Rishikesh on September 24, six days after her parents found her missing from her room.
Investigations into the murder gained momentum only after the case was transferred from the revenue police to the regular police which promptly arrested the three main accused in the case.
According to Chief Secretary Sandhu, in the first phase, six additional police stations and 20 new police outposts will be created, especially in areas with more economic and tourism activities.
Places where six new police stations will be opened are Yamkeshwar in Pauri district, Chham in Tehri, Ghat in Chamoli, Khanasyu in Nainital, Deghat and Dhauli Jheena in Almora.
The 20 places where new police outposts will be opened include Lakhamandal in Dehradun district, Beeronkhal in Pauri, Gaja, Kandikhal and Chamiyala in Tehri, Nauti, Narayanbagad and Urgam in Chamoli and Chopta and Durgadgar in Rudraprayag.
In another major decision, the cabinet authorised the chief minister to bring an ordinance on reservation to domicile women in government jobs.
The Uttarakhand High Court has put a stay on reservation given to women in the state on the basis of place of residence/domicile against which the state government has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.
The cabinet also framed a set of rules or manuals for promoting head constables to the post of assistant sub-inspector, under which 1,750 constables are to be promoted. It also cleared a proposal for the demolition of old residential structures in Kedarnath under the Kedarnath Master Plan.
The cabinet also decided to reduce the punishment for littering and spitting in public by doing away with the provision of six-month imprisonment to the offenders and continuing with the imposition of a fine of Rs 5,000.