Cops, NGOs give shelter to Mumbai police exam candidates
Following reports in this paper, police and local communities arrange for accommodation for those who have arrived from across the state
Police aspirants get a good night's rest before the written exam this morning. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
As thunder clouds rumbled and heavy rains pounded the city on Monday night, thousands of Mumbai Police candidates were relieved that, for once, they had a roof over their heads. Just over a month after mid-day highlighted how aspiring cops were forced to sleep on the streets during the recruitment process, the police department has now tied up with local community resources to provide free accommodation for the applicants.
Sources informed mid-day that as many as 32,419 candidates will appear for the written test in the police recruitment process today. The test will be conducted between 11 am and 12.30 pm. Anticipating that many candidates would arrive in the city a day ahead, the police department arranged for overnight accommodation yesterday. The candidates have been assigned to 69 different centres across 12 zones, and each zone will have accommodation arrangements.
Some candidates take advantage of the lights and dry surroundings to prepare better for the test
"We have approached local resources in each zone and have arranged night shelters for outstation candidates who cannot afford to find accommodation in Mumbai," said Joint CP (Administration) Santosh Rastogi.
mid-day had earlier reported how candidates who arrived in the city for the physical fitness test in April had to face many hardships. Almost every candidate spent the night on footpaths, while some even risked their life sleeping in the open in the Aarey Colony forest, exposed to wild animals. This paper later also reported how female candidates were put through the same ordeal. The relentless coverage drove the police force to arrange accommodation for these candidates.
Bed and breakfast
Sources added that each police station has provided shelter either at schools or community halls. An official from Khadayata Bhuvan in Vile Parle confirmed that they had opened their doors to needy candidates.
DCP (Zone 8) Anil Kumbhare and senior PI Laxman Chavan, from Vile Parle police, said, "We guided the candidates to the hall, and they were happy to learn about the facilities."
mid-day visited a few of the night shelters and found the candidates either fast asleep or using the peace and quiet to cram a few extra hours of study. There was no bedding provided; many used their bags as pillows and covered up with a shawl. They were just grateful they didn't have to spend the night out in the rain. "This accommodation saved us from today's rain. We thought we would have to sleep on the footpath or at the station again," said one aspirant.
Another said, "Last time, I stayed in the forest, and it was tough. Now, we are happy. We have been told that we will even be provided breakfast."
Not all candidates were informed about the accommodation facilities, though. mid-day spoke to a budding cop who had taken shelter at a railway station: "We are spending the night at the station because we were not told about the accommodation. Now, it's raining outside and we don't know where to go."
Another candidate found out just in time. "We arrived in the city in the morning, but we did not find out about the accommodation until 7 pm," he said, safely ensconced in his makeshift bed at one of the centres.
The candidates are all grateful, but added, "We would appreciate if our accommodation address can be mentioned on the hall ticket, so we can go there directly." DCP (Zone 2) Dhaneshwar Chavan added, "We have instructed all police stations to help candidates with accommodation needs. We are aware that many candidates hail from remote areas and poor financial backgrounds. We are happy to help them."
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