Needed for Gurgaon – A Commissionerate
By Maxwell Pereira
maxpk@vsnl.com

I know I am running the risk of the powers that be and their secretariats – especially those who push pens to assist these very powers to reign and govern – raising eyebrows. And perhaps of also incurring the wrath of the bureaucracy with my conviction that it is high time Gurgaon gets a Police Commissionerate! For I fear the legendary rivalry between the Services – the IAS and IPS, is bound to stand in the way and cloud the real issues. But if all concerned were to sit up and give it a serious thought, I am quite sure they’d invariably arrive at the same conclusion.

The recent violence in Gurgaon involving the agitating workers of a local subsidiary of the Japanese Honda Company, and the countrywide debate that erupted – in the print media, in a cross-section of television channels, and even in the nation’s Parliament – consequent to the projectedly questionable manner in which Gurgaon Police handled the whole episode, has indeed thrown up yet again the issue of the much needed police reforms in the country, and of raising the level of policing in Gurgaon and other satellite townships surrounding Delhi in the National Capital Region (NCR) – to bring it on par with the level of policing available in Delhi.

It was one thing facing television cameras last weekend in NDTV’s media debate “The Big Fight” to counter effectively and answer the barbs and accusations levelled through venom-spewing articulation of a fiery co-panellist Trade Union leader and MP in the ruling coalition Gurudas DasGupta, against police in general and their specific role in handling the Gurgaon agitation and the violence… It is quite another, erasing the adverse public perception of the connected events as was projected and presented by a biased and sensation crazy channel competition.

This, in the face of media reports that very morning claiming admission by Haryana DGP Nirmal Singh that his force could have behaved better, acted more tactfully, and planned adequately in advance. He also did right, in sending a firm message through this medium right down to his rank and file that he did not approve of policemen beating the public, that they should have exercised restraint while controlling agitated workers even in the face of provocation from agitators by taking recourse to violence resulting in the breaking of their DSP’s hands! Is this pontification enough, though?

That the issue of police reforms is languishing for the past fifty-eight years of our Independent existence as a sovereign nation is an oft repeated statement. The Gurgaon incidents have merely highlighted this need yet again. How serious is the current Government in addressing this long festering cancer by taking this bull by its horns is to be seen. But narrowing down to the immediate, as would want to be done by crisis managers, it is necessary for the centre and the concerned state authorities to give an urgent thought to policing Gurgaon in the context of the NCR.

Rapidly growing Gurgaon with a townscape that puts visions of a mini-America on the mind screens of new visitors to the place is fast taking the shape of a Metropolis par excellence. Every conceivable MNC has established shop here or is in the process of establishing. Some of the country’s biggest developers like the DLF (with Five phases of developments already in place), the Ansals with their own including Palam Vihar, Sushant Lok and the like, and the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) – are all vying with each other to provide the place with internationally competitive housing, office complexes, malls, food plazas, theatres and entertainment places.

More builders and construction giants have acquired all the land surrounding Gurgaon Township and its approach roads, especially on the Gurgaon-Sohna Road, for top of the line luxury condominiums, Hotels and a plethora of projects. Gurgaon already has two major Industrial Estates and InfoTech cities, with more in the offing.

All of which means, there is also simultaneous need to upgrade the services, in this case of the police set up, to meet the challenges thrown up of a bustling metropolis. The fact that this new city borders on Delhi the nation’s capital where the resources far exceed in comparison to its poor neighbour, makes the need for Gurgaon police upgradation all the more glaring.

It is said the Haryana Government has already addressed the Union Home Ministry in this regard. Comparing itself with the level of policing available in Delhi, it has sought for Gurgaon additional infrastructure, manpower, vehicles and equipment in the form of 5000 additional personnel, 424 motor vehicles and 308 motorcycles, more housing and upgradation in telecommunications, and equipment for surveillance and crowd control including the riot-control vajra vehicles designed and fabricated especially for Delhi Police by the DRDO.

The state should not stop at this. For proper law and order management and control, it should also ask for a Police Commissionerate, to do away with the dual control of the police by the DM/SP set up which hampers quick planning and effective execution among other things, in times of need. The Commisionerate confers on the field police officers the executive magisterial powers which is paramount for high density urban policing, unlike rural policing the superintendence of which has been vested with revenue collectors with powers of a District Magistrate. This is what will really bring policing in the NCR region on par with the level that Delhi is blessed with. Police Commissionerate in the NCR Districts of UP and Haryana surrounding Delhi, could start with Gurgaon.

900 words: 01.08.2005: 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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