Mumbai: Even as 'Mission Begin Again' is under way in earnest, the Maharashtra government, deeply concerned over the more than 2,500 positive cases of corona in the state police force, decided on Sunday to send 12,000 personnel 55 years of age or older on paid leave and assign only police station duty to 23,000 personnel 50 years of age or older.
The state police force currently has a strength of 2.25 lakh, including officers. So far, 33 policemen have died after contracting the virus. An announcement to this effect was made by Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who interacted with the police personnel in Pune and inquired about their health. Deshmukh acknowledged the work by the police force during the coronavirus pandemic and said the police department had been taking care of its personnel on field duty.
"As a precautionary measure, police personnel who are above 55 years of age will get paid leave. There are about 12,000 such personnel who have been asked to stay home and stay safe. Further, nearly 23,000 police personnel who are 50-plus years of age will not be deployed on field duty but be assigned duty in the police station. We are assigning them light duty,’’ Deshmukh said. He informed that the government had announced an interim assistance of Rs 1 lakh for coronavirus treatment and police personnel affected by Covid-19 will be covered under the state health insurance scheme, the Mahatma Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana.
During his interaction at the Covid Centre developed at Yerwada in Pune, Deshmukh called upon the enforcers of the law to take every care and precaution while discharging their duties in the present coronavirus crisis. He said the state government is paying Rs 65 lakh to the kith and kin of those police personnel succumbing to coronavirus.
The government will also build a dedicated hospital in every district to treat police personnel, he promised. According to Deshmukh, the control rooms have been made operational across the state for providing immediate help to police personnel with Covid symptoms.