Suggests drawing up of guidelines, including compulsory police verification
Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has said that it will be ideal to follow certain criteria, includingcompulsory police verification, while making appointment to the personal staff of Ministers.
Interacting with media persons here on Thursday, Mr. Chennithala said guidelines in this respect could be thought of, but since he was no more the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee(KPCC) president, he would not comment on the issue.
At present, there was no move to screen the existing members of the personal staff. The Home Minister was reacting to questions on theincreasing incidence of offences involving members of the personal staff of Ministers in the United Democratic Front (UDF) Cabinet, the latest being the murder of a sweeper at the Congress party office in Nilambur .
He said the investigation into the murder would be conducted in an impartialmanner. “Since the Opposition had expressed lack of faith in the investigation by the local police, I have constituted a special team under Inspector General of Police (Thrissur Range) S. Gopinath,” he said and added that the government would not interfere in the investigation.
Referring to the alleged use of third degree methods against an agitator protesting against land surveyin connection with road widening at Vadakara on Wednesday, Mr. Chennithala said it was an isolated incident and the entire constabulary should not be blamed for the incident.
North Zone ADGP N. Shanker Reddy had been asked to inquire into the matter, he said.
He said the government was engaged in a major endeavour to create a people-friendly face for the police force and as part of it, a series of schemes had been taken up. The most important among these was the move to increase the share of women in the police force. “At present, the share of woman police personnel was abysmally low at just five per cent. This is against the 28 per cent in the neighbouringTamil Nadu,” he said.
This year, the share would be doubled and within the next five years the presence of women in the State police force would be brought to 25 per cent, the Home Minister said.
A Rs.7-crore project aimed at fighting atrocities against women and children would be launched on February 15 by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The project ‘Nirbhaya Keralam, Surakshitha Keralam,’ being implemented as part of the Centrally sponsored Nirbhaya Project, would be implemented through the local bodies with the involvement of woman volunteers from Kudumbasree, Janasree, and political parties. The Department of Social Welfare would coordinate the project, he said.
The State government had decided to introduce an insurance scheme exclusively for the police force. The entire premium, amounting Rs.20 crore, would be borne by the State, he said.
The government would establish six more woman police stations this year, in addition to the existing three, the Home Minister said. These would come up in Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Thrissur, Malappuram, and Kannur.