Mumbai Police's Hi-Fi Enfields gathering rust just one year on

Updated: Dec 27, 2017, 21:12 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

The 'multipurpose' motorcycles, introduced last year, have become a white elephant for the force with many arguing that they were better off without it

While the image of cops zooming on Mumbai's roads in their Bullets might make one green with envy, it appears that the men in khakhi are yet to warm up to the idea of riding on one. The 'multipurpose' motorcycles, introduced last year, have become a white elephant for the force with many arguing that they were better off without it.

Royal EnfieldConstables using the bikes claim they require a lot of maintenance

In December 2016, the Mumbai Police acquired 276 Royal Enfield 350 CC bikes, at the cost of around R1.25 lakh each.
Currently, every police station has got two bikes each for patrolling duties. The bikes are equipped with speakers, LED lights, a first-aid box and a radio kit, which relays messages from the control room.

While the snazzy-looking bikes have given the police force a new avatar, à la the New York Police Department, cops using it here, think otherwise. "Around a year ago, when I got my hands on the Bullet, I felt like my dream had come true. But, now, this bike feels like a burden. The frequent maintenance work it requires, has begun to get to my nerves," said a constable attached with a police station in the Western region.

Another constable, on condition of anonymity, said, "The problem with the Bullet is that it's heavy. So, constables with lean bodies can't ride on it. Also, it's very difficult to ride these bikes in Mumbai's traffic."

Atul Patil, additional commissioner of motor transport department of the Mumbai Police admits to have received a lot of queries from constables, regarding the maintenance of the bikes. "The Bullet needs a lot of work, but that's where our job starts. If riders have any issue with the vehicle, they must report it to us, and we will have the problem fixed," Patil said.

Patil added, "We keep a log and record of every bike, which comes here for maintenance and repairs. But, some constables think they will be fined or charged for damaging the vehicle. The instructions are clear, if a bike is damaged, a complaint has to be lodged first."

The swanky bikes when they first arrived
The swanky bikes when they first arrived

However, constables claim they'd rather avoid all the bureaucratic rigmarole. "If the bike gets damaged, we take it to the local garage and fix it, because we have to complete our rounds for the day. We can't afford to waste so much time," a constable said.

Irrespective of whether the force like these bikes or not, the motor transport department is preparing to supply two more Bullets to each police station soon.

They are, however, considering the issues with the previous model. "We will give these bikes new fittings so that they don't rust easily during monsoon. Wireless channels will be replaced by tabs, which will keep track of the vehicle and its location," said Patil.

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