State Home Minister on Wednesday announced that the government will set up Bharosa Cells at police stations across Maharashtra. “Like the Bharosa Cell of the Pune police commissionerate, the government intends to set up such cells across the state,” Deshmukh said in the Assembly.
The cell provides assistance and counselling to senior citizens, women and children to help them resolve their problems. “We get at least 25 complaints per day, which reflects the faith and trust shown by citizens in getting redressal for their grievances,” Pune police chief K Venkatesham told The Indian Express soon after the minister’s announcement. “The bharosa (faith) of Pune residents has grown in the last year, which is reflected in the number of people who approach it on a daily basis.”
A brainchild of the incumbent Pune police commissioner, the Bharosa Cell, which was set up on January 9, 2019, has helped resolve 2,735 of 3,099 complaints received in one year.
Crediting the success of the cell to a dedicated team of counsellers, Venkatesham said the Bharosa Cell has three separate departments for senior citizens, women and children. “It is a multi-agency integrated cell aimed specifically at resolving complaints and bringing peace to elders, women and children,” he said.
The cell, which was inaugurated by then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, is headed by Senior Inspector Vijaya Karande. Other team members include a counsellor, psychiatrist, legal adviser, a medical official and a protection officer.
“We help families resolve their disputes through counselling sessions and make all efforts to end their bitterness,” said Karande. “In the last year, we have helped resolve as many as 1,691 feuds between married couples. In many of the feuds, divorce cases were pending in court for months and there seemed to be a dim possibility of a patch-up. But through counselling sessions, we have been able to bring a happy turnaround in the life of hundreds of couples,” she said.
The Bharosa Cell also ensures temporary shelter for women victims. “Some women do not want to go to their husband’s place or their parents’ home. We ensure that they get shelter in government homes or private residential homes,” Karande said, adding that women get legal aid besides counselling.
Elders approach the cell with complaints related to neglect by family members and property disputes. The cell has started a WhatsApp group for such seniors, and nearby police stations have been asked to keep in touch with them.
The police chief said SNDT College has also conducted an impact survey of the Bharosa Cell. “The survey has revealed the impact of the cell in the lives of citizens,” he said.
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