Friday, February 24, 2006

Face-lift for Bangalore police stations

Face-lift for Bangalore police stations
Business Standard

Bangalore now has some of the most modern looking and well-appointed police stations in the country, vastly more efficient places, than they were earlier, from which the police can work.

This is the result of a public-private (or corporate, there are some public sector firms too) partnership launched two years ago, in which a section of corporate executives took it upon themselves to redesign and upgrade selected police stations so that hopefully the police force would become more efficient.

This is part of a wider programme of the Karnataka government to modernise Bangalore’s police force, with the corporate sector sharing some of the burden to improve infrastructure.

“This exercise is on in full swing with 25 police stations being given a facelift,” said Bangalore city police commissioner Ajai Kumar Singh.

Firms are spending anywhere between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 40 lakh per station. “This should help the police serve the people better, with faster response time,” said Ajai Kumar Singh.

According to M Mariswamy, former police commissioner who initiated the involvement of the private sector, and is now director general director of police, “The old police stations occupied a huge amount of space and were not compatible with modern gadgetry. Now the emphasis is on optimum utilisation of space with deployment of appropriate gadgets.”

Mariswamy says that during the entire rebuilding exercise no money will change hands between the police and the corporates. More than spending the money, the corporates will spend time in redoing things and thus get involved. “We believe every corporate executive should shoulder some responsibility towards society and this is a step in that direction.”

After renovation, many stations now have a meeting hall, upgraded lockup rooms, separate rooms for regular office work, rest rooms, computer rooms and facilities for the public who visit the station to lodge complaints. The police stations are getting new customer-friendly furniture and data (files) storage facilities. Some police stations are getting computers and internet access.

Companies like Wipro, TCS, Sasken, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, State Bank of Mysore and the GMR Group have taken up prominent police stations for renovation and redesign.

Atsushi Toyoshima, managing director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, says his company believed in helping people by improving their quality of life. “Technology-enabled police stations will help to induce better policing and this in turn will ensure a safer and more healthy society,” said Rajiv Mody, CEO, Sasken Communication Technologies.

Presently, only a few renovated police stations are ready, and some are running out of temporary facilities nearby while the main police station gets the makeover.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor has taken up the Bidadi police station on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, near the Toyota factory. The company has spent Rs 50 lakh on the station, which has a built up area of 5,200 square feet.

Hyderabad-based construction company, the GMR Group, has renovated the Jayanagar police station, spread over 2,500 square feet and two floors, at a cost of Rs 30 lakh.

Mantri Developers have taken the responsibility of upgrading the Malleswam police station, changing both the exterior and interiors. It has been given a complete facelift and looks much better with new panels for the front elevation. It also has more floor space —from 5,900 sq ft to 9,600 sq ft.

The Halasur police station at Ulsoor, which Sasken renovated, has been made to look new and elegant with some deft work on the exterior.

It has also become hi-tech with computers linked by both data and voice networks. Additionally, said Rajiv Mody, the police station will have a more open work area with a ‘skylight’ on the first floor that lets in a lot of natural light.

The whole idea is that if we can improve the quality of life — the workplace — of the police, then they will get sensitised to the public’s need for a better life. Now let’s see if it works.


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