Had the State been covered by regular police, the losses of Kedarnath tragedy would have been less: CM

In a major policy shift, the Uttarakhand government has decided to phase out the revenue police system — replacing it with regular police to enable prompt response and better management of calamities.

Talking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said at present 61 per cent of the hill State is being monitored by revenue police (revenue officials such as patwaris or village accountants doubling as police officers).

“Had the entire State been covered by regular police, the losses of Kedarnath tragedy would have been much less as the regular police are trained to work efficiently during disasters and people promptly respond to advisories and directives by the policemen,” he said.

The issue would be decided in the next Cabinet meeting, Mr. Bahuguna said.

The small size of the regular police in the State also leads to reduced funds for police reforms from the Centre.

As the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is facing a serious resource crunch, the government has decided to ask the Centre to give part of the BRO’s work to CPWD for rapid reconstruction of roads.

On the reconstruction front, Mr. Bahuguna said the newly established Uttarakhand Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister would soon hire the services of top experts in different fields to suggest and monitor all construction works.

The expertise will be used to design and give specific parameters such as alignment for structures like roads, bridges, buildings and hotels down to the small dhaba.

Mr. Bahuguna said the death toll as per official records till now was 3068.

The government had passed an executive order to declare a person ‘deemed dead’ if he did not appear by July 16 for compensation. Chief Secretaries of all States had been asked to provide a list of missing persons and ex gratia of all those still missing on or after July 16 would be given to the next of kin through the Chief Secretaries, Mr. Bahuguna said.