By: Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra
Amid cases ranging from highway robbery and kidnapping to road accidents and industrial disputes, Turbhe-MIDC police station has to fight a bigger ‘monster’ every year — the monsoon — which turns the office into a flood zones.
During monsoon, says Chandrasen Deshmukh, senior police inspector at Turbhe-MIDC police station, several stone pyramids holding the office furniture is the only solace between a “functioning office” and a moody monsoon.
The station commands control over a highway jurisdiction between Sion and Panvel and covers a stretch of 13 km, with their police borders gathering select regions of Uran and Shilphata. Deshmukh, who commands a 125-strong police personnel, including 20 women, says the daily struggle is often about the dwindling patience of the staff with the rising dirty water levels .
Civic officials blame the area’s geography for the water-logging, while police personnel put the blame on zero application of anti-pollution norms by their industrial and commercial neighbours, a parallel clogged industrial nullah and an overflowing pond in the vicinity.
“We literally stand during heavy rainfall through the working hours as the whole police station is submerged in water. There is only so much one can prepare for,” says Deshmukh. Infamous in the police circles as the ‘police station that drowns’, Deshmukh says the woes do not end there. “Since the water and dirt can also float from our toilets, we refrain ourselves from using them during major water-logging period.” With the slush and water not finding a passage, the logging can stretch to over 12 hours, beyond the working span of a day constable, lament officials.
While earlier Turbhe police station stood at this address, it’s now the turn of Turbhe-MIDC police station to bear the brunt, after the earlier station was shifted to another region. With the police station in distress, no FIR has been registered since July. The pond nearby has made the situation worse.
“The pond water further is again contaminated as the nearby slum dwellers wash and clean their clothes and utensils there,” added Deshmukh. “Phone lines and electricity further remains almost shut down for indefinite time,” added Deshmukh. The station now has come up with a temporary solution for days on which it rains. “We have now arranged an emergency room near the entrance. A few vintage police files, meanwhile are shifted to a temple adjoining the station walls,” said a police constable. Many officers carry the case files to their residence, a practice not encouraged on regular days, adds another officer. “We have written many times to NMMC about cleaning of the nallahs and pond. They have a standard reply that it’s a low-lying area and nothing can be done about it,” said an officer.