Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition on Monday cornered the ruling front by raising the issue of extreme work pressure of the police and the resulting mental stress which is leading to their suicides. Though the chief minister conceded that work-related issues are a reason for their suicides, larger reasons are family issues, financial and health issues.
Seeking leave for adjournment, Congress MLA P C Vishunath said that as many as 88 policemen had committed suicide in the last five years, and 148 have quit the job after availing voluntary retirement scheme to work in other sectors because govt have been over-burdening them with more work without increasing the staff strength.In the last six days alone, five policemen have committed suicide. More and more new programmes and initiatives are being added without adding to the strength and in effect, a police station is functioning with 44 policemen on an average who are doing the work of 118 policemen.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan claimed that govt has already launched several schemes like HATS (help and assistance to tackle stress), DCRC (domestic conflict resolution centre), mentoring system by the senior officials, police welfare bureau and also financial assistance to the police officers or for their close relatives if they are facing serious health issues. He said that in addition, eligible leaves and weekly offs have also been ensured.
Opposition leader V D Satheesan said that it is a fact known to everyone that there are no favourable working conditions for the police and still the CM is claiming otherwise. The difficulties and the stress faced by police officers are affecting the ordinary citizens who are coming to the police stations. He said that another major reason is the external intervention from the CPM local leaders.
The SPs are controlled by the CPM district committees while the SHOs are under the control of the area committees of the party. He asked what work police would have when the criminals receive political patronage.
He said that even after the protest by the PSC rank list holders, govt reduced the number of eligible candidates in the list. He pointed out that in a post that had 32 vacancies, the size of the PSC list was just 20. It is an unscientific approach that all police officers will have to perform all the duties, he said.
The opposition later staged a walkout after the speaker refused permission for the motion, on the basis of the reply from the CM.