Paying over Rs 40,000 rent a month, cops' widows write to CM Uddhav Thackeray

Updated: Jul 16, 2020, 11:01 IST | Shirish Vaktania | Mumbai

Over the past six years, the state government has increased the rent six-fold for the families of deceased police officers

Cops on patrol duty at Thakur village, Kandivli. Pic/Satej Shinde
Cops on patrol duty at Thakur village, Kandivli. Pic/Satej Shinde

An organisation led by the wives of the police personnel has written to the chief minister, demanding to lower the rent of the police quarters for the family of the deceased cops. Over the past six years, the house rent has increased six fold, with many having to pay more than Rs 40,000 a month, which they cannot afford.

Mumbai-based Police Patni Ekta Manch Sanstha, which works for the welfare of the families of the police officers, raised the issue with the CM last week. The organisation said the state government had increased the rent to Rs 50 per sqft from Rs 25 per sqft in 2014, then to Rs 100 per sqft in 2017, and again to Rs 150 per sqft recently.

Several widows of the police officers and constables have got a bill of around Rs 3.24-R6 lakh for a year's rent, the organisation said in the complaint to the CM.

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"My husband died on duty in 2018, and as per the government policy, my son was supposed to get a job. After being on the waiting and training for two years, he only just joined duty. And I recently received a house rent bill of Rs 6.48 lakh from the department. We live in a police quarter of 180 sqft and pay Rs 27,000 a month, which is double the market rate," a 47-year-old widow of a police constable told mid-day on condition of anonymity.

According to the rules, a deceased police officer's family is allowed to stay in the quarter and the rent is exempted for six months since his/her death. Later on, the family has to pay the rent fixed by the government, and if none of the members have applied for a job in the department, they have to vacate the flat.

Another widow of a constable said, "My husband died of a heart attack but we have been living in the police quarter as my son is on the waiting list for a job. Recently, we received the house rent bill of Rs 4.5 lakh for 1.5 years, which was three times higher than what we used to pay before. It is not affordable for any police officer's family."

Police Patni Ekta Manch Sanstha Founder and President Janhvi Bhagat said, "The rent is way too high. If we stay in a 1bhk in a society, the approximate rent comes to around Rs 20,000 a month, but the state government is charging around Rs 42,000 for the same area in police quarters. We have demanded that the rent is decreased by at least Rs 25-50 per sqft."

"The policeman died serving the nation, and then their families have to pay such a high rent. The state government should help the families," Bhagat added.

However, the government recently waived off the rent for the families of police officers who died on COVID-19 duty. They can stay for free till the cop's retirement date.

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