Bullet bikes, which have long been an established icon of the raw power of cops, is fast disappearing from the state police force. New generation bikes like ‘Karizma’ are surging into force instead. Curiously, according to police officers, perhaps nothing marks the changing identity of the public watchdog like this swift disappearance of Bullets.
Inspector general (IG) of police Manoj Abraham opined that the disappearance of bullet was a natural step to accommodate the changes incorporated into the force over the years, especially after the implementation of Janamaithri Project in 2007. “Since the implementation of Janamaithri Project, there has been a sea change in police. The police dropped their ‘special’ status in society and started behaving like one among the people. While bikes were available only for ‘riders’ before, to increase mobility of the policemen, almost all police officials with a driving license are getting bikes now. When you provide bikes even at the constable and head-constable levels, disappearance of the Bullet is simply natural”, said the IG.
According to DGP Balasubrahmaniyam, this is also a result of more number of vehicles available in the market these days. The new transport commissioner, Rishiraj Singh, who is known to conduct random raids in almost any vehicle under the sun, also shares the view. “The Bullet is no more economically viable for the force in terms of mileage and procurement. A normal bullet will be around 350 cc and will run only a few kilometers. A range of 100 cc and 125 cc bikes are hitting the road each day, which cost far less and which can run more than a Bullet. So there is no need for a Bullet anymore”, said Rishiraj Singh. According to a police official in Kochi Armed Reserve camp, the Police force is changing not just in style but in shape too. “The days when an officer was imagined to be a big, fat guy coming in a Bullet for inspection is long gone”, he said.
“Maybe a little fat tummy is the only link between the past and the present”, quipped the official. Also, he added that the surge of women in police force may have also caused the disappearance of Bullets. “The most common purchases these days include Karizma, Hero Honda and even scooters. The message is clear, any vehicle purchased should be comfortable to one and all”, said the official.
The change also raises considerable revenue for the force. The old Bullets, which is part of a renewed fad in Kerala, fetch more than other bikes when they are sold.
Meanwhile, some, like the Edappally traffic superintendent M M Aboobaker, are still ardent fans of Bullet bikes in police. “In the 22 years of my service I have ridden only bullets. The difference between an officer arriving at a conflict situation in a bullet and in a scooter is the same as that between day and a night”, said Aboobaker.