GUWAHATI: A nightcap too many will cost about 300 Assam cops their coveted caps. That’s the hangover-busting message CM Himanta Biswa Sarma uncorked here on Sunday when he announced that such “habitual drinkers” among police personnel will be offered voluntary retirement (VRS).
The process has already begun and fresh recruitments will fill the vacancies. “Three hundred officers and jawans are habitual drinkers and consumption of too much alcohol has damaged their bodies. The government has a provision of VRS for them,” Sarma, who also holds the home portfolio, added. Ahead of the second anniversary of the second BJP-led government in Assam on May 10, Sarma has embarked on a mission to overhaul the functioning of the administration and make the police a leaner, more honest force.
Sarma said though such voluntary retirements are in vogue elsewhere, it is being done the first time in Assam. “It is an old rule but we had not implemented it earlier.” The CM, however, said the cops given voluntary retirement will continue to get full salaries but will be replaced by the new recruits.
In several instances, cops have been caught on camera using abusive words, sometimes even against seniors. Many have been suspended for drunken outbursts during duty hours, sources said.
In a virtual conference with senior officials and SPs on Thursday, Sarma had instructed the top cops to “cut the deadwood out of the police force” while emphasising the need to be physically fit. “Those who are habitual drinkers, excessively obese, and have corruption cases against them will be given either VRS or CRS compensation,” the CM had said. He had directed the DGP and other higher-ups to see whether the officials were taking part in physical fitness exercises, visiting police stations, registering cases and bringing them to a logical conclusion.