March 17, 2009 4:26:39 pm
Delhi Police,with a strength of over 60,000 personnel,will be short of nearly 12,000 men for carrying out poll-related duties during the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in Delhi for May 7.
Such a large shortfall will be there even after taking into consideration the additional paramilitary forces that will be deployed during the elections,according to a senior Delhi Police official.
There is a shortage of about 12,000 personnel for poll related duties despite the availability of paramilitary forces. The central forces move in sections which are groups of eight personnel. These sections cannot be broken up,hence,we cannot use them for securing booths where fewer men are needed, the official said on condition of anonymity.
During the assembly elections last year,Delhi Police had sought the help of 12,000 home guards from neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments. This time,there is little chance of this happening because elections are being held in these states as well,the official said.
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He said the national capital has more than 12,000 polling booths,each guarded by three Delhi Police personnel. But this time,for each booth we need one more person,which makes a shortage of about 12,000 men. Since sections of paramilitary force cannot be broken up we have to use them for duties other than guarding booths, he said.
Adding to the problem was the fact that some of the polling booths here are sensitive and in densely populated areas,the Delhi Police official said.
Moreover,being the national capital,it is always on the radar of terrorists. It has a number of vital installations which are given 24×7 security cover. Hence,to ensure that the elections are free of untoward incidents,we need sufficient force. But,this time their unavailability will be a big burden on us, the officer said.
Speaking about seeking help from other states,he said We are unlikely to get homeguards in the way we got during the assembly elections since polling in Delhi coincides with that of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal has recently held a meeting with officers from the Election Commission of India (EC) and the Home Ministry to raise his concerns about the shortage of security personnel for the elections.
We have also written letters to both Home Ministry and EC to inform them about the shortage. We are yet to get an appropriate reply, he said.
Delhi Police had to cut short the number of personal staff given to senior officers and utilised the services of people from administration and other branches for the assembly elections during 2008.
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