The Mira-Bhayander stretch will soon get a police commissionerate of its own, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Wednesday. Urban areas between the Mira Road and Virar stretch are currently policed by the Thane (rural) police. In a meeting on Wednesday afternoon at Sahyadri guest house to discuss issues pertaining to the Mira-Bhayander stretch, the CM announced that a police commissioner’s office will soon come up in the region along with an independent tehsil office. The call centre scam unearthed earlier this year, involving duping of American citizens, was run from offices in this stretch.
Even though a fast-developing urban stretch, the region has been policed in “rural ways”. With the Thane (rural) police facing a shortage of manpower, there are issues such as uneven distribution of police personnel.
The CM’s announcement was welcomed by residents as well as the overburdened police personnel. “The region should have got a commisionerate long ago. However, it remained neglected for decades and became a safe haven for criminals. The recent IRS call centre scam and other criminal activities that hit the headlines finally made the government take this move. We welcome this move,” said Ramannah Shetty of Mira Road, a social activist.
Currently the Thane (rural) police jurisdiction that extends from Mira Road, just to the north of Mumbai, to distant Murbad — around 100 km north-east of Mumbai — with 37 police stations under it, is sandwiched between the Mumbai police commissionerate comprising over 90 police stations and Thane commissionerate to its east with 35 police stations. A police commissionerate is headed by a police commissioner, an IPS officer, who also has powers of an ‘executive magistrate’ which in a district rests with an IAS officer, ideally a district collector.
In case of Mira-Bhayander, the superintendant of police has to consult the collector before taking a decision for a law and order problem. The Thane (rural) police sent its proposal to the state government three months ago for the district to be made into a police commissionerate. After Palghar district was carved out of Thane rural, 60% of the police strength was diverted to Palghar, leaving Thane rural with only 2,300 personnel.
“Population is growing rapidly in the district and we are facing a severe staff crunch,” said a senior police official. Once a commissionerate is formed, the officer added, more personnel can be recruited. “We will have 200-250 policemen and women in each police station, and other departments which function in a police commissionerate will also be operational,” the officer said.
A blend of urban, rural, coastal and industrial areas, the Mira Road sub-division has six police stations— Bhayandar, Navghar, Uttan, Mira Road, Kashimira and Naya Nagar. With an average of 2,500 crimes registered each year, the twin-city’s rapid development as compared to other regions in the district has put immense pressure on available resources. The move for a police commissionerate had gained ground given the increasing law and order as well as crime control challenges police have been facing.
However, stressing the urgency on having an independent commisionerate for Mira-Bhayander, local legislator Narendra Mehta said, “Going by the geographical location of both the cities (Mira-Bhayandar and Vasai-Virar), a unified commissionerate is not viable. Moreover, both the regions are growing by leaps and bounds which will indisputably necessitate a split in the near future. It is better to set up individual units.”
Inputs by Srinath Rao