Return to Barracks on Raising Day!
By Maxwell Pereira
maxpk@vsnl.com

Like every year, the Delhi Police Raising Day was observed this year too on february 16th with a ceremonial parade at the New Police Lines Grounds in Kingsway Camp. The only difference, for me, was the strange feeling of attending this solemn function, for the first time in my civvies, not wearing the uniform like in all the yesteryears, and so also minus the bar of shining medals always proudly displayed above my left breast pocket. Now having graduated to the revered ranks of the ‘has-beens’ I was honoured with a vehicle and liaison officer to facilitate my attending the function – little courtesies the Delhi Police graciously extends to the doyens of the service fraternity settled in Delhi, who in their twighlight years can still lend a bit of sheen to such regimental meets!

Commissioner Krishan Kant Paul, true to style, was crisp in his welcome address to chief guest Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who, I was glad to see, was gracious to keep up the tradition built over an unbroken period of the last five years by his predecessor – for a Home Ministerial salute to the marching contingents at this annual event. It is another fact that he did not however bite the bait nor make any promises that the mandarins in his ministry over the past years have fought hard never to honour.

But particulartly noteworthy too perhaps was Commissioner Paul’s popularity with the powers that be, if one may term it that way, reflected in the rarely before seen collective presence of those adorning the VIP seats – including both the Central Ministers of State for Home, the Lt Governor and lo and behold, the Chief Minister of Delhi too, the Union Home Secretary, the Director Intelligence Bureau, the Secretary RAW and a galaxy of serving DGs and former DGs… not to forget the not so illustrious likes of yours truly too, to fill up as the rear guard.

Before recording an account of whatever else the police chief sought to communicate on this occasion, I would first like to shout from the roof tops something that no one ever talks about or publicizes – the little human face of Delhi Police. I wonder how many had heard before of the fact that the Delhi Police personnel had donated a handsome chunk from their salary for Tsunami relief. It was a tidy sum of a little under 2-crore rupees (over Rs.1,90,00,000/- to be exact) that they handed over to LG/Delhi towards this worthy cause.

This and many other tid-bits in the Commissioner’s address, like the Delhi police winning this year the best marching contingent yet again in the Republic Day Parade, after last year’s gap, were enough to gladden the cockles of this old soldier’s heart. Come to think of it, can you dream of any force ever being able to beat the Delhi Police record of winning this trophy fifteen times in the past twenty years? Isn’t this enough to inflate the chests of all who prided in the service they once lent their shoulders to!

Reiterating with usual platitudes the commitment to becoming a people’s police by trying to reform in aspects of behaviour, working and transparency, the Commissioner minced no words while also recounting some hard facts. That policing Delhi, the capital of the world’s largest democracy, was not an easy task. With a populattion of over one and half crores, it is also the centre of various national, international, political, cultural, commercial and religious activities, and maintaining law and order in this mega city is a very big responsibility.

On innovations, he described how the police have been made more approachable by opening up reception desks in all police stations, which have also been brought under CCTV cover for transparency and more direct supervision from superiors. With the use of email, fax and a designated post box, reaching senior officers directly has been made easy, increasing public convenience and confidence. With computer networking and monitoring every complaint through a single window system, it has been endeavoured to see that no complaint goes unattended; and with that the earlier harassment felt by the aomplainant is sought to be negated. Among technological innovations was the installation also of the ‘Touch Screen’ system introduced in some police stations.

The many plans and schemes included in the working order have yielded results in the form of better communication and trust. Its direct effect being the recognitions earned in the form of ISO certification for the Delhi Police Licensing Branch, and the Webber Sebi Award for Community Policing in a programme of Los Angeles, America in a round contest of a 111 participating country police forces. The new Tourist Police have earned accolades, and the ‘zipnet service’ introduced for linking police forces of the neighbouring districts/states, has facilitated quick exchange of criminal information. Specific programmes have been organized to train school and college girls in self defence. Sanctions had come for 62 more PCR vans, and the raising of an India Reserve Battallion of Armed Police.

Towards welfare of personnel, study centres for police wards opened in many police colonies found mention. And the DDA flats purchased to narrow down the huge gap persisting in the housing satisfaction levels. So did find mention the new IIT started in PTS Wazirabad, and the foundation stone laid for two more Delhi Police Public Schools.

It is hoped that the Commissioner’s concluding prayers to the Home Ministry for continued benevolence(!), and to the HM for a further grant of 3 crores needed to expedite the projects in hand, do get a favourable response.


900 words: 21.02.2005: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com

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