Kolkata Police: Overworked, Under Staffed, Poor Work Conditions, Take Toll


Cops fume over low salary, heavy workload

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Kolkata: The suicide of Kolkata Police sub-inspector Kartik Chatterjee once again exposed the grievances of junior officers of the city police force over work condition and pay scale.

     The subordinate officers, mainly the sub-inspectors, are considered as the main pillar of policing in present hierarchy. But surprisingly, despite many fold increase in work pressure, junior officers in the state remained lowest paid cops in the country.

      “Due to acute shortage of officers, our work load is much higher than other state police. Despite such pressure, we are deprived of allowances and leaves what other state police officers are getting,” said an officer.

     According to present status, a state police sub-inspector gets paid as per Scale 10 of the Fifth Pay Commission. On an average, a fresh recruit gets around Rs 20,000 after joining the job. And they don’t get any promotion before 20 years of service.
“After 16 years of service, a state police officer gets at least Rs 15,000 less than his counterparts in other states,” said an officer. Officers in other states also get paid as per the Sixth Pay Commission.
Officers complained that they have been demanding the revision of pay as per their work load and responsibilities for long. In 2009, the state finance ministry prepared a report on Revision of Pay and Allowances. In its report, the committee admitted that the state police were getting much less than other police officers and they need a revision of pay. The committee also recommended to revise the scale as per Scale 13 of the Fifth Pay Commission.

     Then finance minister Asim Dasgupta assured to start the revised scale but it did not happen in the past three years.

    MORE WORK, LESS PAY 


Scale of SIs in other states: 
9,300-34,800 + 4,300 grade pay Scale of SIs in Bengal: 7,100-37,600 + 3,990 grade pay
In other states, SIs get promotion within 10 years In state police, it takes 18-20 years for a promotion

  Cops in other states have weekly offs, special pay for duty beyond 8 hours
No such facilities for cops in the state

Police struggle with high dropout, burnout rates

 “Until the superiors do not develop the basic infrastructure, this exodus will continue. More policemen wwill quit and the quality of policing will deteriorate.” 

Exit Door
20 of the 106 newly recruited SIs quit in 2004,
35 of the 110 SIs who joined in 2008 quit
18 of the 78 sergeants who joined in 2008 quit

Caesar Mandal TNN

      Kolkata: Kartik Chatterjee, the Kolkata Police sub-inspector who committed suicide on Saturday, wasn’t the only police officer struggling to cope with work pressure.

      A month ago, SI Rabindra Nath Sarkar had tried to commit suicide in front of East Jadavpur police station with the service revolver of a constable. The bullet struck his throat and he was lucky to survive, thanks to emergency surgery at a private hospital. Investigation revealed that Sarkar was depressed because of the work pressure and was looking for a transfer to any other wing.

      It’s not only the middle-aged officers, even fresh recruits are finding their job too tough, say sources.

      A significant number of officers recruited through public service commission have left the police service after working a couple of years. In some cases, they opted for even lower-paying jobs. Most of them blamed poor work conditions, pressure, and ill treatment from the superiors as the cause behind their switching to other jobs, say sources.
In 2004, 106 sub-inspectors joined Kolkata Police but 20 of them quit within a couple of years. The dropout rate was worse in the next recruitment in 2008. This time 110 sub-inspectors and 78 sergeants joined the service but within two years,18 sergeants and 35 SIs quit.
Among them is H Rahman, who was posted at Shakespeare Sarani police station in December 2009 after two years of training. Within seven months he quit and joined a clerical job, where the pay was much lower. The work pressure of the police job disturbed his family life, he said.

     Apart from investigating crimes, cops posted at police stations deal with law and order, road accidents, fire and various other types of jobs, including, in a recent case, catching a snake at a hospital.

      The workload has been increasing but not the manpower, said an officer. “Police stations are hellish for any officer. We have no weekly offs. Most police stations are short of staff so we work seven days a week. Often, we don’t have a proper toilet, what to speak of a rest room or canteen?” alleged an officer.

    In specialized police wings, like CBI, an officer does not investigate more than three cases a year. “Police stations handle a much bigger workload. On an average, we can deal with 25-30 cases a year but in 2010, I had 110 cases. How can an officer deal with such a number of cases and still investigate properly,” asked an officer who was posted at Park Street police station.

      The crisis turned worse a year ago, when the Kolkata Police jurisdiction was expanded to include the southern fringes and the number of police stations increased from 48 to 65.

     “Now our jurisdiction is double than before but infrastructure remains same. A police station needs 10-12 sub-inspectors but most have to make do with seven to eight SIs,” said an inspector posted at a south east Kolkata police station.

     When Kolkata Police took control of South 24-Parganas from the district police, more than 700 cases were pending at Patuli police station. In the past year, final reports of 300 cases have been submitted but that still leaves 400 cases pending, which were “distributed” among other sub-inspectors. “Each officer is handling 40-50 cases apart from their present cases,” said an officer.

      “Until the superiors do not develop the basic infrastructure, this exodus will continue. More policemen will quit and the quality of policing will deteriorate.”

    Exit Door
20 of the 106 newly recruited SIs quit in 2004,
35 of the 110 SIs who joined in 2008 quit
18 of the 78 sergeants who joined in 2008 quit

       Reasons: Tremendous work pressure, poor work conditions, ill treatment by superiors. Many left for less paying jobs

Mumbai Flat Buyers( 06 – 10) : Hope to pay less VAT


06-’10 flat buyers may have to pay less VAT

Govt May Waive Registration Delay Penalty

Rajshri Mehta TNN

     Mumbai: People who brought properties in under-construction projects between 2006 and 2010can relax a little.

     Fresh calculations by the sales tax department peg the value-added tax (VAT) they have to pay at .5% to 3% of the value of the property mentionedin the agreement.Developers, most of whom are affiliated to Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), however, maintained that the amount worked to 5% or more.

      The second reason for cheer is the indications from a government source that it might waive the penalty for delayed payment of the tax component, thereby benefiting the buyers. Before 2006, no VAT was levied on property sale. The state introduced it in 2006 after the Supreme Court passed an order in 2005, putting developers andcontractorsin the samebracket.
The tax liability, say officials, varies because of several parameters such as construction costs incurred by developers (who collect the amount from buyers) after deducting the land price, which accounts for almost 70-80% of the total costsin Mumbai.

     The tax liability will go up in proportion to the construction cost, meaning, buyers will have to pay more as tax if they bought their properties and registered them later; construction costs have steadily been increasing in Mumbai.

      Both developers as well as government officials agree that it was the buyers who are caught in a battle between them. The interest that buyers will now pay—if they delayed registering the property after its purchase—isbecauseof the case that was going on in court and the developers’ confidence about winning it.

      The MCHI and Confederation of Real EstateDevelopers’ Association of India (Credai) have, nevertheless, moved the apex court, challenging the constitutional validity of the government’s move to term developers as contractors andlevy VAT.Likein mostindustries,thehugetax is being passedon totheenduser.

      Buyers are fighting back in whatever way they can. Some havestartedwriting blog posts, whileothers are meeting developers, telling them about their predicament. “We are suffering because of the fight between developers and the government,” a buyer in Malad said. Tax officials pointed out that since April 2012, when the order was passed againstdevelopers,13 buildershadcollected fullliability of Rs20crorefrom consumers but did not deposit it with the department. Asked a buyer, “Why should we pay interest,when wehave already paid the tax amounts to the developers?” “We have already paid huge deposits. The developers can pay the VAT out of the interest,” a buyer from Powai said. Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association chairman Ramesh Prabhu, too, said buyers, especially those who had not yettaken possession of their properties, would now haveto pay hightaxes.

      Developers, however, stuck to their stand. Ashok Mohanani, CMD of Ekta World, said, “The fault lies with the three complicated schemes to compute VAT drawn up by the sales tax department,whichhaveincreasedtheliability toover 5%. Contrary to the department’s claim,they are notoffering any tax benefits to any of the schemes. We have to pay double taxes for the same goods the value of which has increasedover a periodof time.” ADDING VALUE TO PROPERTY 

     The VAT is applicable only on an under-construction property

      Your tax liability varies between .5% and 3% depending on several factors such as the cost of the property and the value of the land on which it is built

     You will have to pay an interest of 15% on your tax component for every year of delay in registering your property. For example, if your tax component was Rs 1 lakh and you bought the property in 2009 but registered it in 2010, then you will have to pay Rs 1.15 lakh (15% interest on Rs 1 lakh for one year)

     The sales tax department may decide to waive the penalty for delayed payment; discussions are on

     There may be a small variation in the tax component because of differences in factors such as construction cost, which has been increasing steadily; this will increase the tax if you bought the property, for example, in ’08 instead of ’06

    LEGAL TUSSLE

      2006: Maharashtra government amends Value Added Tax Act, 2002 and levies VAT on the sale of immovable properties by developers

     2007: Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) and Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai) challenge the government’s decision in the Bombay high court

      2007: Court passes interim order that developers should submit to sales tax department details like number of flats, amounts received, goods purchased from “dealers” registered or unregistered and amounts of VAT paid on such purchases

     2009: Maharashtra government issues notification for computing VAT, the value of which is based on ready reckoner rates 2010: Government introduces composition scheme of VAT at 1% of agreement value

    2012: Bombay high court dismisses MCHI’s petition

    2012: MCHI challenges constitutional validity of the government to levy VAT. Their contention is that the state legislature has no power and erred in terming the sale of immovable property as work contract under the provisions of Sale of Goods Act, 1930 of the Constitution

     Aug 28, ’12: Supreme Court to hear special leave petition

MTNL: Compelled by SC to repay Unauthorised Deduction after 18 years to Adv Sanjay Kothari


We need more Sanjay Kotharis.

Ed

Advocate wages 18-yr battle for 9 refund from MTNL

Shibu Thomas TNN

      Mumbai: In 1994, an advocate took on MTNL for charging extra service tax on his telephone bill. The case inched forward in the high court and reached the Supreme Court, but he didn’t give up. Eighteen years later, he got his due: an MTNL refund cheque for Rs 9 that he received earlier in August.

     “It was a matter of principle,” said Sanjay Kothari, the proud recipient. “MTNL is a public body and if they wrongly charge consumers, they must refund it. Otherwise, it is a case of unjust enrichment.”

    And Kothari is not done yet. He has filed a contempt petition over MTNL’s failure to refund the extra tax to other customers as the Bombay HC had ordered in 2010.

    WHAT IT’S WORTH

      9, in 1993-94, adjusted for inflation as per the wholesale price index, would be equivalent to 27.78 as of July 2012, the last month for which data is available MTNL has to refund 9 each to 1.8L people

       Mumbai: An RTI application filed by Mumbai advocate Sanjay Kothari revealed that MTNL has to refund Rs 9 to about 1.8 lakh consumers. The amount works out to over Rs 16 lakh.

       His case against the public body goes back to the early 90s when Kothari read the fine print in his bill of Rs 340 and realized that he had been charged extra service tax. MTNL refused a refund, following which Kothari, who was represented by senior advocate Arif Bookwala and advocates Sanjay Udeshi and Mahesh Londhe, filed a writ petition in 1994 before the high court.

      MTNL said Kothari’s actual bill was for Rs 380 and since he had paid a deposit of Rs 5,000 under the Own Your Telephone scheme, he was eligible for a rebate of Rs 40 in his bi-monthly bill for 20 years. The PSU stated it would consider his actual bill of Rs 380 when charging service tax, while Kothari argued that it should be calculated on his payable bill of Rs 340.

      Sixteen years later, the HC ruled in Kothari’s favour, saying the service tax should have been charged only on the gross amount reflected in the telephone bill. MTNL moved the Supreme Court a year later, but their plea was dismissed last July on grounds of delay.

     Earlier this month, he finally got the cheque for Rs 9. “MTNL could have easily adjusted the amount in my current bill, but they chose to issue a cheque which costs money,” said Kothari.

      “It seems they are not keen on paying the others. I am an advocate and could take the case to its logical conclusion, but what about the ordinary citizen?”

    Clearly, MTNL has not heard the last from him.