HYDERABAD: These men-in-khaki have had to deal with mosquitoes, insects — sometimes, even snakes and monkeys — during breaks from their regular shifts. They have had to travel for about a kilometre to the nearest police station to use the bathroom. For lunch, they have had to go all the way to a run-down quarters near the station. However, things have changed for the men of the 3rd battalion of the Telangana State Special Police (TSSP), standing guard at gate number 8 of the US Consulate General’s Office in Begumpet.
On Friday, during the heavy rains past midnight, they were provided with an all-weather modern shelter with an attached bathroom made out of a shipping container.
These men have been manning the gate for 10 years now. Four constables, supervised by a head constable, perform their 2-hour shift of guard duty on rotation. “Earlier, it was quite cramped with three cots inside the small tent. With mosquitoes and insects, it was very difficult, especially in the night. There was no bathroom or water in the tent, and we had to go to the Begumpet PS for basic purposes. It was even difficult to charge a mobile phone with no proper power connection. And when it rained heavily, water used to enter the tent,” said one of the constables.
The spacious portable barrack has three cots with storage compartments beneath them, three wall fans, mirrors, multiple plug-points, three windows with mosquito nets, hooks to hang clothes, a bathroom with a washbasin, multiple exhaust fans, a shower, European toilet and faucet. “All these amenities are things we can’t dream of while on duty. We are used to taking rest at wherever there’s space, be it on picket or on guard duty,” added the constable. The new barrack will be fully fit for use in a couple of days, once power, water connections and drainage pipes are installed.
Abhilasha Bisht, IGP, TSSP, when contacted, said that the TSSP has been trying to resolve accommodation concerns of the personnel for quite sometime. “Men posted here were having a tough time. The land is neither ours, nor the US Consulate’s. As we could not get permissions from the GHMC, we had been racking our brains for the past five to six months. Wherever we have our lands, we can build a barrack. In other locations, we will be installing mobile barracks,” she said.
The file pertaining to the proposal is said to have been pending with State Police Housing Board for over a year. An order for the shipping container-turned-barrack was placed a month ago. It cost the department around Rs 5 lakh.