Bhopal: Beds spread haphazardly on the stone-paved floor, hanging clothes doubling up as partitions, cramped space, fans lazily whirring overhead, tin roof, insects and mosquitoes for company.
No, this is not the description of a rain basera. It is the place where 25 members of band parties of different SAF battalions have been put up in the capital. They have been summoned to Bhopal for joining the band that will play at the state-level Independence Day function and have been provided accommodation at the barracks of the 7th battalion of SAF near PHQ.
“We feel tired even after a night’s sleep,” says one of them. “Most of us have to sleep on the floor and the fear of being bitten by numerous insects crawling around does not allow us to have a sound sleep,” he adds. Obviously, he refuses to reveal his name for the fear of his higher-ups.
“There are not even hangers to dry our clothes,” said another who has come from Indore. They practise for hours every day at Lal Parade Ground for the big day. However, when they return to their accommodation, they have to struggle for the limited number of beds available. Those who fail to grab them, have to sleep on the floor.
They are from 6th Battalion Jabalpur, 10th Battalion Sagar, 2nd Battalion Gwalior and 1st Battalion Indore and will spend around 20 days in the barrack in this condition. “It is bound to affect our performance,” one of them admits candidly.
The band culture is already losing its lustre and most of the constables included in the band parties are trying to get some other assignment. And the apathy of the officers is only adding to their problems. “The other policemen of our rank also look down upon us,” they say. But for now, they are forced to live in miserable conditions even while playing ‘Sare Jehan Se Accha’.
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