Mizoram’s Home Department is mulling plans to purchase less attractive but functional vehicles after finding some officers overuse existing cars leading to a shortage of vehicles for field staff, state Home Minister R Lalzirliana said Monday.
“Normally Police Headquarters allocates vehicles to respective District SPs. But the best vehicles do not always reach the police stations and outposts and staff here, who are the most important, are often left with pretty bad vehicles. The thinking seems to be that the Home Minister has a good vehicle and those below him also want good vehicles.
“There are some cases where the Officer-in-Charge (OC) or 2nd OC use police vehicles to learn driving. Personally I think all our officers should know how to drive. However, it might be best if we start purchasing certain vehicles officers would not be tempted to use for police stations and outposts,” R Lalzirliana said.
The Home Minister was faced with a volley of supplementary questions from his own party-men after he offered a crisp reply (“There are plans to equip Police in villages that do not have vehicles”) to ruling Congress MLA R L Pianmawia’s starred question in the ongoing assembly session.
Congress MLA from Dampa constituency, Lalrobiaka, pointed out that the police station at Marpara had a “not too good vehicle, which sometimes needs to be pushed.”
Congress MLA from Lunglei West constituency, Chalrosanga Ralte, pointed out the police station at Lunglei has been allocated a second-hand vehicle purchased back in 2006.
Congress MLA from West Tuipui, Nihar Kanti Chakma, too pointed out that the police station at Tlabung, a town on the Indo-Bangladesh border, does not have a vehicle.
Congress MLA from East Tuipui, T Sangkunga, was more emphatic, saying the shortage of police vehicles in his constituency at the Indo-Myanmar border is unbecoming for a a region frequented by Myanmar-based militants who often walk around the local markets with their guns as well as tourists who visit the area to see old relics.
Listening intently, Speaker Hiphei asked the Home Minister to reply to the supplementary questions after adding, “Even Tuipang and Phura do not have police vehicles” (both are in his constituency).
This year’s CAG report had also pointed out a huge shortage of vehicles in the Mizoram Police Department at various levels (including battalion units, SP-level, police stations as well as outposts).
“In spite of sizeable procurement of vehicles during the last nine years, still there was deficiency level of 26 percent vehicles in the police forces under seven test checked units. The scene may not be different in remaining units of the state,” the CAG report noted
“The shortage of transport facilities in the district police forces especially at Police Station level is bound to have an impact on police mobility, which in turn would have a bearing on response time during law and order situations and prosecution of crime,” it added.