A week after the new District Commissioner of Police, Mohit Handa, takes over policing work of Panchkula, The Indian Express talks to him about his past, present and future.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Punjab, grew up there and got a lot of my education from there. Hoshiarpur is a small town where I was born and since my father was in a transferable job, we kept moving around I did my class 10 from Jalandhar and my engineering from NIT Jalandhar. After working with TCS for two years and then pursued my MBA from a private institute in Delhi. Thereafter I shifted to management and worked with HCL, then as a consultant at KPMG and have even briefly worked for an analytic firm. During the time, I wanted to do more, so I appeared for the civil services exam. In my first attempt I got railways and in my second I opted for police services. I have served in Panchkula. In fact I started as an ASP under training and was also the SHO in Chandimandir. This introduced me to Panchkula. I have also worked with governor as his ADC for ten months and was posted as SP Ambala. From there I went to inter-land in Dadri. Now I am back at my first posting commissionaire place as DCP.
What made you choose civil services after a long and successful career in management and engineering?
I felt this was more fulfilling as I always wanted to serve the public. I was also financially comfortable and was continuing with the job. I had worked for long and this was my last attempt in terms of age and I gave it a shot and got through. I wanted to choose the service which had public interface and of course administrative services and police services are the best for such a profile. I think it is very much applicable here as well. We should not box ourselves into fields because the knowledge of engineering is being used everywhere. It’s about the application of intelligence from every field. You must draw your experience from other fields and apply it.
How have your postings been uptil now?
From my training days in Panchkula to a very different posting which involved protocol working, untimely duty hours and working with very high officials during my time with the governor, I have senn a lot. I have also had experience working in Haryana. Working in villages, visiting crime scenes, managing law and order, listening to complaints and trying to redress the complaints. We go through a very broad range of experience and being in office has been very fulfilling for me. This is a chance which not everyone gets, an opportunity to do everything and I got that opportunity at a very early stage in my career. I think that has helped me leaps and bounds in greeting a deep understanding of the work we do and has added another dimension to my thinking process.
How do you see the challenges that might crop up in Panchkula?
Panchkula is almost like a semi capital of Haryana. We have our police headquarters and many central offices of the Haryana government are in Panchkula. Each of the headquarters that has its office in Panchkula are equally important. So that is, I think, the first set of stakeholders here. Then there is a huge population of retired government officers or army officials. We have the western command of Chandimandir here and plenty of sensitive installations like ITBP, TBRL and that is another set of stake holders from national security point of view. The pensioners who are very well aware and at times vocal about their rights and a rural belt of far flung areas including Morni and Raipurani all offer different challenges. We will have to deal with them differently. They come with different problems and aspirations. It a very broad cross section of stakeholders we have to provide service which can be challenging. It is also about the geography as we share borders with Himachal, Punjab and Chandigarh. Chandigarh’s policing is often compared to ours especially when traffic is compared. Managing expectations is challenging and we are aware of it. Panchkula has gone through an evolution as for the commissionerate is concerned. Keeping all things in mind, we are aware of challenges and depending on the resources we have, we will give our best.
Panchkula also sees a lot of protests. How do you plan to oversee that?
Certain things have evolved by the way of handling law and order in the district. As far as ensuring security for VIPs and managing law and order, it happens in synchronisation with the Chandigarh Police. We are always in touch. To ensure law and order in such situations, we will only use proportionate force and that too, only if required. If protestors want to exercise their right and be vocal about their demands, in a democratic set up whatever is permissible to them will be respected. Wherever they have to be stopped we will do it in synchronisation with Chandigarh. I know it may cause problems relating to traffic, especially to the citizens of Panchkula, but we will try our best to balance it with the democratic right of protestors.
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