Mumbai: In the new year, Mumbai police will have more than mere words for motivation to take care of their health and cut back flab. Under an incentive scheme to be implemented by the end of December 2005, constables will earn Rs 400 every month if they meet certain fitness standards. Officers could make as much as Rs 500.
“We are expecting the government resolution later this month. It had been held up due to the winter session, but we are hopeful that it will be notified any time now,” says M B Shinde, special inspector general of police (administration).
Obese law-enforcers and their protruding tummies have been an object of ridicule in Mumbai for long. The stipulated body mass index (square of the weight in kilograms divided by height in metres) for the average policemen is 23. But random checks at health camps have usually shown a body mass index of 30-40.
It’s not just the weight that is an issue. Doctors at Nagpada police hospital say blood pressure, hypertension, TB, diabetes and heart problems are common in the city police force. Now with the government resolution on the anvil, the top brass of Mumbai police is hoping to tighten belts and cut flab, literally. “The entire force of around 40,000, will need to work on their health. Nobody is exempt. From the constable to the senior police officers, everybody will now have an incentive to be health conscious,” says Shinde.
Subhash Awate, Joint Commissioner of Police, said the parameters for fitness will also take into consideration blood pressure andhypertension. “All this will be co-related to the age of the person and then with the help of doctors and fitness consultants, we will arrive at a decision,” he said. Awate admitted that obesity was slowing down the force but the working hours and the lifestyle of the policeman was largely responsible for it. ” We will try to have intern at i o n a l h e a l t h standards for Mumbai police but it will take time,” said Awate. “Please understand many policemen have constitutional problems and many of them do not take care of themselves. Irregular duty hours and desk jobs have also contributed to their health problems,” he added.
CCTV plan fizzles out
The decision to install close circuit television (CCTV) at police stations across Mumbai seems to have fizzled out. “The decision to install CCTV was never an official programme. It was done at local level at police stations,” said joint commissioner Subhash Awate. He added that such cameras would help police to improve their behaviour as they would know that they were being watched but he added that such installations was not on a must-do list. “We have other priority areas,” Awate emphasised.