Police academy waiting for funds crunch to ease

CHENNAI NOV. 9 . The revised estimate for construction of a police academy near Vandalur, on the outskirts of Chennai, is yet to get the government green signal, for reasons, it seems, of funds constraint. Officials, however, hope that the proposal will get the nod soon, considering that the Government has been `liberal' in funds allocation for the Police department.

Under the revised estimate, the cost of the project, announced by Jayalalithaa during her previous term eight years ago, is Rs. 51 crores. The cost has gone up owing to price rise over the years and in view of addition of facilities to bring the training establishment on a par with the prestigious Hyderabad academy.

After the announcement of the project, the then Government sanctioned Rs. 36 crores. But site selection, besides the usual governmental procedures and choice of design, took time. Just when everything was about to be finalised, the AIADMK lost power. When the party regained power last year, officials were hopeful that the project would materialise soon.

In fact, moving the demands for grants for the Police department this year, the Chief Minister said the academy would be set up at Oomananchery, off Vandalur, at a cost of Rs. 51 crores. The first phase, costing Rs. 19 crores, would be taken up during 2002-2003. However, official sources say, as the government finances are tight the revised estimate might not have been sanctioned.

But the Government has to act fast to avoid further cost escalation. The Union Government allocated Rs. 19 crores for the project under police modernisation.

The sources say the Police department has already taken possession of the 132.92-acre site. The Government has accepted the building design. After approval has been received for the revised estimates, the work will be handed over to the Tamil Nadu Police Housing Corporation.

The academy was thought for imparting training under one roof, to facilitate an integrated approach, it has been pointed out.

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