Infusing fresh life into the beat system, the District Police has decided to launch ‘one village, one constable’ scheme to avert caste clashes in the district, prone to caste and communal tensions during jayanthi celebrations of caste leaders.

“This year, we have decided to launch a pro-active measure to ensure communal harmony in the sensitive villages by deputing a constable to adopt a village,” Superintendent of Police N.M. Mylvahanan said on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference here, he said that under the scheme, a constable would visit his adopted village twice a week and interact with the villagers to nip in the bud communally sensitive issues. “We have identified about 250 sensitive villages and decided to launch the scheme next week,” he said. The constables would collect intelligence on grievances of the local people and address them immediately. They would bring to the notice of their higher ups any major issues that warranted the intervention at the level of Inspector of Police so that simmering caste-related grievances do not build up and lead to social tension at a later stage, he said.

The new system assumes significance in the backdrop of the tension witnessed during the Thevar Jayanthi celebrations on October 30 last year following three murders near Paramakudi.

Pointing out that chain-snatching cases have doubled in the year 2012 compared to the previous year, Mr. Mylvahanan said that a district-level team would be formed to focus on this area. The team headed by an Additional Superintendent of Police would comprise an Inspector of Police, two Sub-Inspectors and four constables. The team would collect details of habitual offenders and keep track of those who come out of prison.

Stating that only local criminals were indulging in chain-snatching, he said that the district witnessed 45 cases in 2012, compared to 22 in 2011. While helmet-wearing two-wheeler-borne criminals snatch chains on the pretext of asking for address from women, another set of criminals cut chains from women at nights while they were sleeping in their houses.

The number of burglaries and thefts had come down from 101 in 2011 to 81 and 185 to 154 respectively. However, the spurt in number of accidents, particularly fatal ones, was a cause of worry, he said. It had gone up from 807 in 2011 to 858 in 2012 and the fatal accidents from 228 (claiming the lives of 239) to 272 (claiming the lives of 297), he said. This happened despite police registering 17,753 Motor Vehicles Act cases in 2012 and imposing fine to the tune of Rs.21.76 lakh, he said adding nearly 60 per cent of the fatal accidents took place on five stretches, including National Highway 49 and East Coast Road.

Significantly, most of the accidents occurred during day time, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the five stretches. “We have identified 37 accident-prone areas in these stretches and decided to improve road safety by installing warning sign boards,” he said.

The district had been allotted Rs. 30 lakh to improve road safety and the fund would be utilised to install CCTV cameras at important junctions and procure other materials. School and college students would be sensitised on traffic rules and road safety.

The police would step up drive against drunken driving and drunk drivers who caused fatal accidents would henceforth be booked under section 304 of the IPC, he said. There would also be special focus on driving without licence and wearing helmet.

The police would also launch a drive against vehicles transporting ‘Pechalai’ fish in the open, polluting the environment and causing health hazard, he said.

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