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The Maharashtra Police has written to the state government saying it should reconsider its decision asking policemen to mandatorily wear uniform made of Khadi once a week. Soon after the BJP government had come to power in 2014, officials working in government departments both at the Centre and in states were told to don Khadi uniforms at least once a week.
According to a senior official in the office of the director general of police in Mumbai, the force has cited the cost and unkempt nature of the fabric as the reason behind the non-feasibility of using Khadi as uniform.
“Purchasing a set of Khadi uniform will cost anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000. For the constabulary who gets a uniform allowance of Rs 5,000, buying a set of Khadi uniform required to wear only once a week will pinch his pocket deeply as these uniforms are very costly. The constable would have to spend the additional cost from his salary, which he would have otherwise spent on meeting his household expenses,” said a senior official from the DGP office who did not wish to be named.
“The nature of the fabric and its maintenance is another major issue. Despite ironing, the material easily crumples. The constabulary are mostly pressed in maintenance of law and order duties and it is difficult for them not to crease their uniforms. A wrinkled, crumpled uniform will make our men look unkempt and this is not good for our overall image,” said the official.
In June this year, the Maharashtra DGP’s office had told departments, which were not required to wear uniform, to don Khadi uniforms to promote the Indian fabric. “We received a lot of complaints. Concerns of overspending and nature of the material are genuine and therefore we decided to write to the state government to revoke its decision,” said the official.
Policemen in the rank of constables to assistant sub-inspectors are entitled to a uniform allowance of Rs 5,000 that covers the dress, shoes and the insignias. While a senior police inspector is entitled to around Rs 7000, an IPS officer gets Rs 20,000.
Inspector General of Police (Administration) Anup Kumar Singh confirmed that the state police had written to the government on this but declined to divulge more details.
According to policemen, there are not enough tailors either who can stitch a Khadi uniform. “We will not only spend on the uniform from our salaries, getting a tailor to stitch a Khadi uniform is equally challenging. There are only a select few tailors in Maharashtra who stitch khaki uniforms, we don’t think they have the expertise in stitching a Khadi uniform,” said an ASI-rank official.
A senior official from the state home department told The Indian Express that they were yet to take a decision on the matter.