In Kerala, this scheme is not a new ploy to shore up strained finances – in fact, it’s an old scheme, one that’s been criticised plenty, which has come out with new rates.
The ‘rate card’ in a recent government order shows hiring a circle inspector rank officer will cost you between Rs 3,035 and Rs 3,340 a day. If you want a more economical option, go for a civil police officer (your friendly neighbourhood constable), whose services cost Rs 610. Police dogs come at Rs 7,280 a day, and wireless equipment is hired out at Rs 12,130 daily rent. A police station can be rented for Rs 12,000.
Why a police station and police wireless should have roughly the same rental rates or why it costs more to hire a police dog than a police officer is not clear from the government order.
So, who does the Kerala government think are its potential customers? “Private parties, entertainments, film shootings”, per the order.
Understandably, some government officials are unhappy. They point out that not only does the order fail to recognise the reality that film companies and even wealthy people organising private events are much more resource-rich and don’t need to hire cops and equipment but also that renting out state personnel and property fall in a moral grey area. Plus, hiring out wireless sets and cops with guns raises security issues.
Film industry insiders say that they depend on the police only for getting permission while filming in public places or sensitive areas. “All other infrastructure related to police are already available in the industry itself,” film producer Roshan Chittoor said.
Last year, four police officers were provided for guard duty at the marriage gala of a businessman’s daughter in Panoor, Kannur. That had led to a major controversy. “The officers’ association had taken up this issue. Human or other resources of the police should not be made available for any pomp and show,” police officers’ association state general secretary C R Biju told TOI. He added there’s a detailed SOP laid out in the government order but that it must be followed diligently.
In case the SOP isn’t followed, it’s possible you can get married in a Kerala cop station, inspectors and police dogs keeping an eye on the guests.
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