Paid Rs.30 a month as conveyance allowance, constables wonder how to make ends meet
NEW DELHI: With the inflation rate shooting up to double digit territory and the prices of essential commodities going through the roof, the rank and file in the Delhi Police too have started feeling the heat along with other sections of society.
“Though it has never been easy for the common man in the Capital to make both ends meet, the situation has worsened in the past couple of months. Owning a vehicle or a house in the Capital was always a distant dream for me. Now even the prices of vegetables, pulses and cooking gas appear to be going beyond our reach,” grumbled a 53-year-old Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police who has a family of six to support.
“My youngest son, a Class IX student, is bent on joining a cricket academy and the eldest one wants to pursue higher education. I too want them to pursue their dreams and be successful, but the pocket does not permit me. Caught in this whirlpool of spiralling prices, an ordinary man cannot even ensure good future for his children and they too end up accepting menial tasks. The vicious circle thus continues,” rued the ASI.
“Despite cutting down the expenditure on vegetables, edible oil, milk and fruit, our family monthly budget has gone up by Rs.700 to Rs.1,000. One cannot even think of buying fruits these days with apples costing Rs.110 per kg and bananas Rs.35 a dozen. Cooked vegetables and salad were always an indispensable part of evening meals earlier, but now we cannot afford this luxury more than twice a week,” the policeman added.
Twenty-two-year-old Constable Govind Singh, who got married recently, is forced to leave his wife back at his parental house in Rajasthan as he cannot afford to pay the high rent for an apartment here. “It is difficult for me to support a family in Delhi on whatever little I earn. I stay in the police station and manage to save a little bit for our future. I can bring my bride to stay with me only when I get an official accommodation, but that seems unlikely in the near future,” said Govind.
The recent hike in petrol and diesel prices have also added to the financial burden of the policemen who are paid meagre sums as conveyance allowance. “A constable has to run around chasing criminals, attending calls and serving notices, but he is paid just Rs.30 per month as conveyance allowance for a bicycle. Can one imagine going around the city on a bicycle and performing the duties satisfactorily when the criminals these days are equipped with latest vehicles, technology and weapons. Left with no other option we have to bear the expense on our own. The recent hike in the price of petrol has added a burden of at least Rs.200 or Rs.300 per month on the monthly bill,” said another constable on condition of anonymity.
“It is not just house rent and petrol prices but the overall cost of living including health services and quality education as well that has gone up and beyond the reach of lower and the middle class families,” said Head Constable Rajesh.
Sounding a note of caution, he added: “The situation is alarming. The Government should intervene to insulate the poor from the sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities.”