While most of the 200-odd jawans, who were called in for Ganpati devotees’ safety, are losing sleep because of the mosquitoes and rainwater seepage, some even fell ill and had to be taken to a doctor
The Mumbai police, which had called in two Border Security Force (BSF) companies from Gujarat to help with the Ganeshotsav bandobast, especially at the Lalbaugcha Raja, is allegedly forcing its guests to live in rather shabby conditions.
The 200-odd jawans, who are expected to stay alert throughout their long duty hours to ensure the safety of devotees, are having trouble sleeping every night as the BMC municipal school in Parel, where they have been accommodated, is teeming with mosquitoes. Rainwater also seeps into the halls where they sleep.
When mid-day visited the school near G D Ambekar Marg, we found that the jawans have been forced to sleep on the floor in two halls on the ground and first floor. “Our jawans are prepared to stay in the worst of conditions whenever required, but when we were called to Mumbai for Ganpati bandobast, we were expecting that proper arrangements would be made for our accommodation.
But when we came here, we were asked to sleep on the ground in two halls on the ground and first floors. The school is mosquito infested, causing our jawans to lose sleep and fall ill. Four of them even had to visit a doctor,” said a senior BSF official.
He added that the jawans have now started using mosquito repellent creams and coils, and some have even purchased mosquito nets. Another problem that the BSF jawans are facing is that water seeps into the halls when it rains and they have to get up in the middle of the night to lug their mattresses to dry spots.
A BSF official said that the Mumbai police had not even met basic requirements such as the 100 umbrellas that they had asked for. “We had asked the police to give us the umbrellas so that we could do our duty effectively while working in the rains, but we haven’t received a single one so far.”
The BSF had also requested police officials to provide them with a separate room where the brass could discuss the plan of action during any operation, but no such room has been given and a section of the first-floor hall has been reserved for the purpose. The section is demarcated only with a curtain.
DCP and Mumbai Police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “I will speak to the police official who is looking after the accommodation arrangements for the BSF companies and will ensure that the issues are sorted out.” DCP Ashok Dudhe, who is monitoring the security at Lalbaug, said, “I will immediately look into the matter and take the necessary steps.”