It is said that policing, more than enforcing law and order, is about reaching out to the needy.
Taking a cue from this, three police stations in Ernakulam built houses for three families, who couldn’t afford to build one on their own.
The Muvattupuzha police first built a house for one below-poverty-line family, in Rakkad, in their precinct last year. The key was formally handed over to the owners on 27 January by State Police Chief Loknath Behra.
The police spent Rs 7 lakh on the construction of this four-bedroom, 1300-square feet house.
Speaking to TNM, Muvattupuzha Sub-Inspector C Jayakumar said, “The entire team contributed towards building this house. As contributors, we don’t want our names to be made public. There are nearly 90 personnel working at the station, and all of us put in the physical effort to build the house, which considerably reduced the cost of construction. Dileep, a senior civil police officer at Vazhakkulam Police Station, drew the plan of the house.”
The house was built under the Janamaithri scheme, a unique people-friendly project that aims to help those in need living under each police station’s zone. For instance, under this scheme, the police look out for elderly people living alone or people living in houses with thatched roofs – homes that lack security, basically.
“We keep vigil to ensure no untoward incident happens because these lack social security. The idea is to make such people feel more secure,” said the Deputy Superintendent of Muvattupuzha, K Bijumon.
On surveying which family needed their help the most, the police zeroed in on the family from Rakkad. The family owned the land their hut was built on, but the hut itself comprised one room, with a tarpaulin sheet serving as walls and the roof.
“The family consists of four members and they survive on the meagre income the man makes as a daily wager. He isn’t healthy enough to go to work every day. His wife can’t work either and his children, a son and daughter, are students,” said Jayakumar.
The Ramamangalam police knew they had to help the family at Ezhimuri colony as soon as they heard about them.
With both parents turning into alcoholics, the two children – one in Class 8 and the other in Class 6 – were forced to take care of themselves.
“Once, the parents even sent their kids to an orphanage once. The older one ran away and came back home. However, on seeing him, the mother, who was inebriated at the time, threw a knife at him and he was admitted to the government medical college at Kottayam in a serious condition,” the Ramamangalam Sub-Inspector Eby MP told TNM.
The police learnt about the family’s conditions when they took a statement from the child.
“The land they live on doesn’t have proper documents. Hence, they didn’t get any benefits from the government. There was nothing on the plot which can be described as a house. Some clothes, like a sari, were used to make the walls and roof. By building a house, we hope to change their living conditions and thus, their life,” Eby added.
The work, which has seen contributions both from the police and public, is 60% complete.
The Koothattukulam police have almost finished the work on this house and the key will soon be handed over to the family.
“It was built at a cost of Rs 10 lakh, and the public and the police both contributed to this project. One of the children from this house was a cadet at the police, and that’s how we heard of them. There is no source of income for the family, and they have five children,” said Kuthattukulam Sub-Inspector Samson.
The two bedroom, fully furnished house spans 800 square feet.