Staff shortage at PMC’s anti-encroachment police station hampers work
Despite the state home department issuing orders sanctioning 158 staff for the dedicated police station, the anti-encroachment department is yet to receive the requisite manpower
Due to staff shortage, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) police station, which was established in 2018, for anti-encroachment drives, is likely to shut down, forcing the civic administration to take a review of the project.
The PMC is currently paying around ₹4 crore as charges for availing policemen for anti-encroachment drives.
Despite the state home department issuing orders sanctioning 158 staff for the dedicated police station, the anti-encroachment department is yet to receive the requisite manpower.
The state home department, in an order dated September 1, 2014, ordered the establishment of a dedicated branch titled ‘Economic Offences and Special Cell for Civilians’ with 158 posts created to boost anti-encroachment and other activities undertaken by the civic body that require mandatory police protection.
Madhav Jagtap, head, anti-encroachment department, said, “Currently, we get bandobast from the respective police stations where we carry out the anti-encroachment drives. The PMC pays the requisite fees to the police department for providing bandobast duties. The proposal for phasing out is under active consideration of the administration.”
Manish Awasthi, a resident of Kothrud, has written to the state government stating that PMC’s anti-encroachment drive has been suffering several setbacks due to a lack of police personnel and currently only 38 officers available for duty instead of 158 sanctioned positions.
“This shortfall is making anti-encroachment drives difficult and risky, with organised hawkers becoming increasingly violent towards PMC workers. Despite the government approving 158 vacancies for police officers in 2018, there is still a vacancy of 158. The PMC wants to ensure that citizens don’t face any inconvenience due to illegal construction and to remove illegal encroachment and unauthorised hawkers from public areas,” Awasthi added.
Jagtap said, “It has become impossible to remove unauthorised and illegal structures in the absence of police protection.”
In May 2023, the anti-encroachment department officials were beaten up by the hawkers when they tried to remove the illegal structures from the footpath on Boat Club Road.
In March 2022, the Vishrantwadi police lodged an FIR against 22 persons for obstructing public officials while discharging their duties and booked under relevant sections including section 353 of the Indian Penal Code.