HYDERABAD: It may sound weird but the staff at the Lake Police Station on Necklace Road in the city are working on a 24-hour shift everyday. Lack of police staff, increasing suicide attempts in the lake and additional duties like bandobast are making it difficult for them to perform their duties.
“I joined duty at 11 am today and will leave at the same time tomorrow,” a constable at the police station said. With an average of at least ten to twelve suicide attempts in the lake every month, the policemen are finding it hard to keep surveillance with the limited staff and multiple responsibilities.
Said another constable, “Like many police stations in the city, we also have shortage of men. And, we have multiple responsibilities to discharge.”
But inspector Janakamma differed. “We have adequate staff at the station to perform the duties.”
The police station also lacks basic infrastructure. The only telephone it has had conked out a few weeks ago and was restored only two days back. With the telephone going out of order frequently, the only source of communication to reach the police station is by dialling the emergency number 100. The information reaches the police station from the control room through wireless sets. This entire process takes at least five minutes which is very crucial in case a person drowning in the lake is to be rescued. Cops here now depend on their personal mobile phones or wireless sets to receive and share information. At least six policemen are on patrolling duty throughout the day to cover the entire lake. Those who are rescued will be given counselling and handed over to the family members.
According to the data available with the police station, about 60 people have been saved by the policemen from drowning in the lake since February. On an average, three or four dead bodies are retrieved every month. Sometimes the number is more, Janakamma said.
Though there are frequent suicide attempts in the lake, it is surprising that there are no professional swimmers attached to the station for rescue operations. Earlier there were four but they were transferred to other places after the state’s bifurcation. Now the cops are performing both surveillance and rescue operations simultaneously. “Sometimes we take the help of tourism department’s professional swimmers at Lumbini Park,” the inspector said.