Punjab Police seeks Rs4b for renovation, construction

Feb 13, 2020

Punjab Police plans to demand at least Rs4 billion for the construction of new police stations and renovation of those in a dilapidated condition.

The sum would be sought under a new development scheme other than the annual development programme (ADP) in the provincial budget. Initially, the amount will be spent to procure land for about 100 police stations that are currently functioning in rented buildings as well as the renovation of 150 that are in poor condition.

Moreover, the construction of 28 police stations will be completed this year. Lack of infrastructure has been a serious issue for the police department in the province. Some stations are located in extremely dilapidated buildings out of which few are older than a century.

These makeshift arrangements further complicate the working of the department as these not only cause a public nuisance but also inhibit an effective workplace environment for the force.

A population explosion and the subsequent increase in crime have created an inevitable need for the construction of new police stations.

Recently, construction of a 3-storey new building of Gawalmandi police station was finished at a cost of nearly Rs45 million under this project.

Gawalmandi police station, one of the oldest police stations of the provincial capital, was functioning in an extremely old and dilapidated building. A few years back, the station was abandoned to reconstruct the entire building.

Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Zulfiqar Hameed inspected the building some time back to monitor the work. Two days back, the CCPO visited the building of Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station which was under construction.

The police station is being built on a 2-acre area. The three-storey building’s construction cost has been around Rs55 million. Per sources, the building would be handed over to the police by the end of March.

Hameed also disclosed that the possession of at least 17 new police stations would be given to the police department in the near future.

However, this process of construction and handover of new buildings under the ADP has been quite slow.

Several years were spent before the building was deemed ready for possession. One of the causes of this delay was the insufficient budget allocation in the ADP. The amount was so low that only a minor fraction of the building was constructed in the given amount.

To expedite this process, police have decided to retrieve funds for the construction and renovation of police stations under a special new scheme. Misplaced preferences of the Punjab police command

The issue of provision of an improved working environment for the police officials has been an old one.

However, the Punjab police top brass dealt the issue with a myopic vision and came up with solutions that were neither sustainable nor long lasting. They even failed to come up with a reasonable plan to address the primary requirement of a police unit – a police station.

The command has been accused of skewed preferences such as the acquisition of expensive vehicles and equipment rather than solving the basic problems faced by the force to the likes of stationery availability, clean toilets and sitting facilities.

In the past decade, police top command built a few new buildings and reckoned those as “Model Police Stations” to change the ‘thana culture’. This project too was given up and not taken up further by their successors.

Later, front desks were built by spending a large amount to facilitate the work.

The incumbent command of Punjab Police spent additional billions for the construction of ‘New Model Police Stations’ that divided the station premises in two broad categories, the police working area and a separate community area.

Few weeks back, Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated a police station built under this project.