Despite facing the brunt of a large number of terrorist attacks, Maharashtra continues to fare poorly when it comes to keeping itself prepared. According to data obtained under the Right to Information Act, the state has spent an abysmal 12 per cent of the allocated budget for purchasing security equipment and 72 per cent when it comes to buying weaponry.
The information was provided to former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi by the director general of police's (DGP) office. Security equipment pertain to bullet-proof jackets, headgears, screening machines, etc.
As per the figures provided, a total of Rs348.08 crore were kept aside between 2010 and 2013 for the purchase of equipment. However, the DGP's office could purchase machinery only worth Rs41.42 crore during this period. In case of weaponry, the situation was comparatively lot better. Out of Rs247.83 crore budgeted, Rs177.96 crore was spent in the three-year period.
The figures stated that there are certain budget heads where the police has not spend any money at all in a particular calendar year. There are three such heads in weaponry section and one in equipment.
Gandhi had filed the RTI application wanting to know what exactly the state had done to equip itself and the procedure it followed. "I had heard for quite a while that the way government functions, it is quite a madness when it comes to procuring equipment or weaponry. I wanted to see what exactly is the case and the procedure they follow," said Gandhi.
In the reply, despite administrative approval being sought, the amount is allocated and spent only after a year or so. "There is a chance that no one may be at fault here. There are times when purchasing some of the items takes almost six months. By the time they sanction the budget, it may lapse. Here is where I see madness in the way the government works. Firstly I do not understand when the budget allocates amount after talking to officers, why is there a need for further correspondence related to administrative approval and reminders. Everyone seems to be working but nothing is moving. There needs to be questions asked so that this does not happen," said Gandhi.
When dna approached Sanjeev Dayal, DGP, he said, "I have not seen the documents so will not be able to comment on them."