Mumbai: What happened to 8-hour work days, ask constables

Updated: Feb 21, 2020, 07:37 IST | Diwakar Sharma, Shirish Vaktania | Mumbai

The previous police boss' proposal seems to have been binned since December as personnel from across city complain about 15-hour days and write to seniors

Rajkumar Dongare, senior inspector, Cuffe Parade police station
Rajkumar Dongare, senior inspector, Cuffe Parade police station

Despite the former commissioner's order mandating an eight-hour shift, constables have alleged they are being forced to put in 15-16 hours every day which is causing health issues like diabetes and irregular blood pressure.

To reduce workload, former commissioner Datta Padsalgikar had implemented eight-hour shifts for the constables. In December last year, his much-applauded decision was tossed away when the constables were asked to put in extra hours.

"Last year, the senior inspector asked us to work extra hours if we want to avail leave in December. So everyone agreed. But this has become a trend now as he is not willing to give us any relief," said a constable from Cuffe Parade police station. "We have written a letter to senior officers but they have also not paid heed to our grievances," the constable added.

The constables said their appeals to the senior officers to address their grievances fell on deaf ears. Representation pic/AFP
The constables said their appeals to the senior officers to address their grievances fell on deaf ears. Representation pic/AFP

Another constable from Cuffe Parade police station said, "We are often asked to go for bandobast at Marine Drive and we end up working for 15 hours on some days". They complain that they cannot keep performing well if they are forced to work 15-16 hours every day.

"The senior officers should seek Local Arms staff for any additional enforcement instead of engaging us for extra work. We have unanimously approached the senior inspector but he is not willing to listen to us. Some of us are in mid-50s or late 40s, and our age does not permit us to work for 15 hours," said another constable.

A woman constable said over 70 per cent staff at Cuffe Parade police station travel from Kalyan, which takes two hours one way. She added that with 12-hour work shift, they end up devoting 16 hours to work every day and some days the work shift extends to 15 hours. "Recently, all of us from Cuffe Parade police station attended a health camp and learnt that we were suffering from either diabetes or blood pressure issues," she said.

Another woman constable complained, "We can't give time to our children and family. Even if my children are unwell, we have to work for at least 12 hours. The Cuffe Parade police station is not even a busy one, still we are forced to work for 12 hours."

Senior Inspector of Cuffe Parade police station Rajkumar Dongare said, "If they [constables] have any issue [with working hours], they should approach our senior officers." The constables, however, complain that they have all taken up the matter with their senior officers but to no avail.

This is not limited to just the Cuffe Parade police station, employees at Kherwadi and Tilak Nagar are also facing the same issue.

"We can't complain against the senior inspector because we have to work with them. We are regularly during over 12 hours shift. We have to follow the orders of our senior officers," said a constable from Tilak Nagar police station. The Mumbai police spokesperson did not respond to mid-day's queries.

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