The rural traffic brigade (TRB) set up by Ahmedabad district (rural) police a couple of years ago is losing its jawans rather rapidly.
At the time of inception, it comprised of 80 jawans, which had gone up to 130 in 2012. However, currently there are less than 70 jawans, claim sources in the brigade. Long working hours, low remuneration and no acknowledgment from concerned police stations for their fate are the reasons given by sources for this trend.
This drop in their number may prove worrisome for developing rural areas in the district, where traffic flow has been on the rise. It is responsible for handling traffic in Bopal, Sanand, Sarkhej, Aslali, Kanbha, Changodhar, Bavda, Viramgam, Dholka, Dhandhuka and Badgodara.
Out of 140 applicants in 2011, 124 candidates including four women were selected after the physical test. Of these, around 80 recruits formed the first batch of TRB jawans, informed the source, who has been part of the brigade since day one.
During the recruitment drive in 2012, around 100 aspirants had applied, of whom 50 were recruited into the brigade, he added. This took their total strength to 130.
“However, this year, as many as 80 jawans quit the brigade, bringing down the strength to less than 70 personnel now,” the source said. The major factor in the dwindling numbers has been low pay, said a senior district police official.
“Each TRB jawan is paid Rs120 per working day, which amounts to Rs3,600 per month. This remuneration is quite low for the long hours they put in. So, it is obvious they would leave the service for a private job for a better pay,” the official said.
For many of them, a long commute eats into the already low pay. “Initially, the recruits were posted at traffic points nearest to their residence, for convenience. However, there are jawans who commute from as far as Naroda for duty at places like Sarkhej and Aslali,” the source informed.
Another factor is no acknowledgment from most rural police stations. “Barring a few places including Sarkhej and Sanand, the police station authorities don’t pay much heed to TRB. The guideline of having at least one police constable accompany us at every traffic point is completely overlooked,” he said.
What’s even more astonishing is that the brigade has not been provided with ID cards since two years. “So, when we stop an offender, and if they demand proof of our identity, we make them call our respective police station to confirm the same,” the source added.