BHUBANESWAR: Even though Left-wing extremists (LWEs) are spreading their tentacles to newer areas in the State, police, which fight the menace, faced shortage of vehicles which restricted their mobility to a large extent.
The latest report of the CAG said as the per the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) guidelines, there was shortage of 1,288 vehicles in the State as on March 31, 2011. Though the shortage persisted year after year during 2004-11, the situation has improved considerably over the years, it said.
The shortage, which was as high as 2,287 (42 per cent) in 2004 has come down to 1,288 (20 per cent) by March 31, 2011. During 2004-11, 3,013 vehicles were purchased by the Police Department with an expenditure of ` 54.56 crore. Against the requirement of 6,473 vehicles, assessed according to the BPRD norms as on March 31, 2011, 5,185 vehicles were available.
The CAG report said shortage was maximum in heavy vehicle category. In eight test- checked police districts, shortage of vehicles was noticed to be 25 per cent, it said and added the shortage was maximum in DCP, Bhubaneswar.
Audit examination in test-checked districts by CAG revealed that though SP of Rayagada, which is a major LWE-affected district, had requisitioned three mine- protected vehicles, three PCR vans and 80 motorcycles, only 25 motorcycles were supplied during 2006-11. But during the same period, 24 motorcycles and seven light vehicles had been condemned and were awaiting auction.
The CAG maintained that though the Department confirmed the fact, it did not indicate any specific plan to address the shortage of vehicles particularly in the LWE-affected districts within a definite time frame.
As per the BPRD norms, vehicles, purchased under the modernisation scheme, were to be utilised in police stations, armed battalions and district reserve police. Audit examination revealed that despite shortage of 1,288 vehicles in the State, 626 vehicles, including 278 motorcycles out of 3,013 vehicles purchased during the period, were provided to different establishments. These include offices like training wings, range IGP and DIGs, security, signal wing, crime branch and special branch which were not connected with operations.
The Department, however, maintained that vehicles, purchased under the scheme, were provided to other establishments for assistance and supervision work with a view to ultimately enhance the overall efficiency of the police force.
Apart from facing shortage of vehicles as per the BPRD norms, the department did not have sufficient drivers to run the available vehicles. Against the availability of 2,859 vehicles __ heavy 334, medium 634 and light 1,891 __ only 1,169 regular drivers were in position as on March 31, 2011. In the absence of such large number of drivers, 1,343 vehicles remained largely idle, it added.