16November2018

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

Right Now

Dearth, Illegal Possession Plagues ‘Homeless’ Force

By Gajanan Khergamker

Because of the trend of renting out government quarters to private individuals, many needy policemen were denied rooms that should have been rightfully given to them in the first place.

Just a little while back, it was revealed that about 40 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, presently in the service of the Maharashtra Government, did not submit the mandatory information regarding their property details to the Central Government.

All the officers were supposed to submit the details to the Central government before the 25th July 2012. But these 40 officers failed to do so for months after the deadline was over.

Refusal to divulge details seems fishy

Their reluctance to share property details only raises suspicion about their behaviour and questions legality of their property ownership.

A month after this report came another came, revealed details about police officers that showed them in worse light. Reportedly, a lady constable had filed a harassment complaint against her senior officers after she couldn’t take their harassment anymore.

It was reported that the woman constable had been continuously filing RTI applications asking for details about vacancy in police quarters since she was denied a room in the quarters and was told that that there was no vacant rooms in the quarters.

The woman constable had come to the city after finishing her training and had applied for a home in police quarters but was denied. Finding this suspect, she started filing RTI applications requesting details about police quarters.

The reply revealed that some of the senior police officers had given out the rooms in police quarters to their own personal staff (civilian) while denying the rooms to the deserving police officers. It was also reported that some of these staff members had been living in these quarters for more than a decade.

RTI applicant swift to get ‘own’ home

After the flurry of RTI applications the woman constable filed, she was granted a place in the police quarters almost immediately. But, even after she got the quarters she refused to relent and continued with her RTI application until the senior officers in question were forced to remove the civilians from the police quarters.

So, when a report suggesting that over 1,300 policemen live in the slums appears, it’s not really hard to put the two together and reach the logical conclusion.

An RTI application filed in March last year revealed that, till 2010, 1,300 policemen were living in slums. The statistics procured from the RTI query also had information of the year 2005 and 2006.  Apparently till less than a year ago 10 per cent of the police population lived in the slums. The RTI application was filed by former civic commissioner D M Sukhtankar were also forwarded to the Bombay High Court in connection with the PIL filed demanding basic amenity like water for people living in slums.

According to details revealed through the RTI application, a total of 4,494 police constables and officers out of 40,117 lived in slums in 2005 and in 2006, 4,834 out of 40,608 were living in slums, Reports of government quarters being letted or rented out had come out in the news time and again; And, not just in Mumbai but in other cities in the state too.

In June earlier last year, in Pune, reports of policemen letting out rooms in police quarters to private individuals came in the news. It was also reported that because of this trend renting out government quarters to private individuals, many needy policemen were denied rooms that should have been rightfully given to them in the first place.

But, they were denied a place in the quarters because the place was already rented out illegally to civilians.

Upon hearing about these illegal activities, the higher-up officers decided to cancel the allotment of staff quarters made to policemen who were illegally renting out the place to civilians.

This action was decided only after a complaint regarding this issue was received by the higher officials during the welfare committee. Policemen on not-so-higher levels have been denied allocation on many occasions and not always for the right reasons.

A report in April 2012 suggested a 56 per cent of the city cops weren’t provided government quarters. In all 26,613 policemen out of the total 48,888 did not get places in police quarters because the department was facing ‘financial crunch.

Around the same time in 2010, it was reported that even though there were vacant rooms in government quarters, the officers couldn’t live in the houses because the houses were in ‘dilapidated conditions’ and couldn’t be ‘lived in.’

Oddly, an RTI application filed around the same time indicated quite the opposite.

Not enough houses for police officers

According to the data mentioned in the reply to the RTI application, there weren’t enough homes to house all the officers. The department, it was reported, fell short by 13,000 houses.

With the way the department keeps leasing out plots for as less as Rs 30 for as long as 30 years, senior police officials letting out government quarters to civilians, it’s of no surprise that there are never enough ‘homes’ for policemen. Sadly, the policemen who stand for more than 12 hours a day performing duty aren’t even provided with houses entitled to them.

And it’s not just the city, reportedly 1, 22, 890 police officers out of 2,09,380 in the state have to arrange for their own accommodations as the department couldn’t provide them with house in government accommodations.

(Readers keen on seeking help on drafting RTI applications may write in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Gajanan Khergamker on 022-22841593 for any assistance on RTI or to have their findings / issue featured here)

  • Written by Denis Giles
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