The police stations of Vandanmedu and Meenangadi are ranked 26 and 64 in the list of best stations in the country.

Fish farming and more Why 2 Kerala police stations are among the top-ranked in India
news Law and order Saturday, June 29, 2019 - 18:05

If you thought police stations are dull buildings which need to be visited only if necessary, you could end up pleasantly surprised. A recently published Union Ministry list ranks 87 of the best police stations in India and among them, two are from god’s own country. Ask any officer in the Vandanmedu police station in Kerala’s Idukki district and you will catch the hint of pride in their voices as they speak about their station. 

“There are 35 of us here and we are like a family. We work together,” says Vinodan*, the station writer. Perhaps this unity is the reason for the Vandanmedu PS being ranked the 26th best in the country by the central government. 

The big grey station building not only serves as an efficient law and order centre, but its surroundings are also lush with freshly grown vegetables. A pond by the side of the building is also alive with five varieties of fish. 

“We grow beans, brinjal, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, yams, kaachil (a root vegetable), ginger, pumpkin, and other vegetables. In between, we needed water for the plants and decided to build a pond and ended up cultivating fish,” Vinodan adds. 

Currently, the pond is full of Gaura, Gift Tilapia, Assam Vala, goldfish and grass carp. The farm was cultivated from scratch by the officers who cleared the surrounding wilderness bit by bit and planted seeds. 

Even today, those officers who are relatively free or have night duty take some time out and feed the fish. 

Not only is the station a delight to behold, but inside too, the efficiency of investigating cases and filing chargesheets is also impressive, going by the state’s standards. Since 2005, the Vandanmedu station has been comprehensively digitising their data, right from recording the date of complaint to the filing of chargesheet and granting bail to the accused. In 2017, the station investigated and filed chargesheets in 97 per cent of the cases. Based on the data entered in the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS), the station was picked for the union ministry list for its impressive record. 

Crimes against the SC/ST community and women too are handled with care and immediately investigated before the accused has time to abscond, according to officers here. 

“When the complainant approaches the station, the accused usually absconds. We try to nab them before they can hide by immediately launching the probe,” says Vinodan. 

The officers, led by Sub-inspector Shojo Varghese, also share a heartwarming camaraderie. 

“No one brings lunch from home. We pick vegetables and buy fish or meat from outside and cook everyday between 11 am-12 pm. Usually, we prepare rice, vegetable curry and chicken, fish or beef,” Vinodan adds. 

Even as the Vandanmedu station does Idukki proud, up north in Wayanad, another station has finished 64th in the list of ideal law and order centres. The Meenangadi station is crammed in a tiny plot of land next to the National Highway running through Batheri, but the dedication of the 40-odd officers here have helped them join the ranks of the top stations of the country.

“We don’t have the facilities that other stations enjoy. We are just one tiny building and no land. But we have conducted several campaigns for the people of the panchayat,” says the writer of the station. 

In 2017, women officers of the Meenangadi station, along with Kudumbashree workers, trained the entire womenfolk of the panchayat in martial arts. 

“The training drive is continuing and most of the women have completed it. We trained everyone, including school kids, college students and homemakers,” adds the station writer. 

The same year, officers conducted over 56 campaigns for the people of the panchayat, from anti-drug awareness drives in schools and institutions to self-defence classes. The station, which functioned as an outpost of Batheri PS till 2004, also began to digitise their data way back in 2000. 

“We try to investigate grave cases such as section 302 (murder) and POCSO cases first. All the cases and their progress is recorded in forms and fed into the CCTNS system as soon as the FIR is filed,” says the writer. 

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.