As a precautionary measure amid the pandemic, nearly 23,000 Maharashtra police personnel, aged between 50 to 55 years, are being given low-risk police station tasks, while 12,000, who are above 55, have been asked to stay home, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Tuesday.
The number of Covid-19 cases among the 2.2 lakh-strong Maharashtra Police force had, by Monday, crossed 1,000.
Officials have said a majority of cases from Maharashtra Police are among local police personnel from Mumbai, Thane, Malegaon, or personnel of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) who were deployed in these high-risk areas.
“We are also seeing rapid growth in numbers due to aggressive testing and many are asymptomatic. Seven police personnel have died due to Covid-19 till date, which include four from Mumbai and one each from Pune, Solapur Rural and Nashik police,” said a police official.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Deshmukh said on Tuesday, “Our police personnel are fighting the battle against Covid-19 from the frontline. Many of them are deployed at quarantine and isolation facilities, hospitals or at check points in highly-affected areas. They are being provided with adequate safety gear and utilities. A dedicated Covid helpline has been created for police personnel. Dedicated isolation, quarantine facilities and hospitals have been earmarked at some places.”
“However, to reduce the risk due to age-related factors, as many as 23,000 police personnel in the 50-55 age group are being given low-risk police station duties. And 12,000 above 55 years of age have been asked to stay home till further notice. These directions have been issued to police units across the state. Health preconditions, if any, are also being taken into consideration. Seven police personnel have till now lost their lives. Their families will be given ex-gratia amount of Rs 50 lakh plus Rs 10 lakh from police family welfare fund and Rs 5 lakh from group insurance scheme. One of their family members will be given a government job,” he said.
The home minister added, “While the police have to do these difficult duties, there have been 212 instances of attacks on policemen, for which we have arrested 750 persons till now. Police have also done a great deal of humanitarian relief work in providing ration, food and safety utilities to people who are in need. I want to assure the police force that the entire state is standing behind them as they protect us.”
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