Though the Pune police as part of its prepartion for the upcoming election has set up an election cell, the police say the sudden rise VIP movement has affected their basic policing duties. “In July-August last year, we had around 200 VIP visits. Since November it is between 275 and 300 per month. It is obviously going to increase. And if for instance the chief minister is scheduled to come to the city and just one more minister is to accompany him, inevitably a couple of more ministers are added at the last minute. Their personal assistants ask for pilot cars too,” said a senior police official.
The officer said two senior officers are aleady waiting at the helipad for two hours just for the ceremonial salutre. “If the arrival is delayed by an hour, the officers cannot move. The pilot car has to be with these ministers throughout their stay in the city. This involves not just the special branch, which looks after security planning, but also the motor transport, control room, wireless wing, local police station and the traffic branch. All this has hampered police functioning,” said the senior police official.
A staffer from special branch said, “We have to constantly deal with the PAs of these ministers as they fight with us because a pilot car is provided late. It has been observed that since last couple of months politicians are staying for longer durations and are attending private meetings.”
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DCP M B Tambade said, “We have started the election cell in the special branch. It comprises police inspector, two APIs and three PSIs and a total of 15 staffers and their office. Their basic duty is to plan for the elections right from security arrangement, collection of information and data about constituencies. The cell started work on Thursday.”
Another officer said on Wednesday and Thursday the Union home minister passed through Pune and the police commissioner and two other officers spent two hours each at the airport for the ceremonial salute. “The situation has worsened as compared to last elections as the population has increased and jurisdiction has expanded but ours strength hasn’t been augmented,” the officer said.