Frequent DGP transfers Not a Good Sign

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The post of Director General of Police (DGP), in fact, has become something of musical chairs. As many as 11 DGPs have taken office and exited in the last 17 years. Most of them bowed out before reaching their retirement age. Former Vigilance director, RP Sharma, who has taken over from Singh, happens to be the 12th IPS officer to adorn the post under Naveen Patnaik.

The removal of Kunwar Brajesh Singh as the director general of state police sometime ago  was as abrupt.  While speculation is still rife over what led to his sudden exit the development underscores the uncertainty that marks the state’s top police job.

Singh is not the first DGP of the state to be shunted out in less than two years. The post, in fact, has become something of musical chairs. As many as 11 DGPs have taken office and exited in the last 17 years of chief minister, Naveen Patnaik’s rule. Most of them bowed out before reaching their retirement age. Former Vigilance director, RP Sharma, who has taken over from Singh, happens to be the 12th IPS officer to adorn the post under Patnaik.

The fact that most DGPs were unable to complete even two years in office should be a cause for worry for policy makers of the state as the Odisha Police Bill, 2015, stipulates two years as the minimum tenure not only for the top police job but also for district superintendents of police.

Though the bill is yet to become a law the short run of DGPs in the state runs contrary to its spirit. The Naveen Patnaik government itself has in the past expressed itself in favour of introducing reforms in police administration including fixed tenures for DGPs and police superintendents.

Among the 11 DGPs who have preceded Sharma only N.C. Padhi and Manmohan Praharaj could serve the state for more than three years. The collective tenure of the other nine was nine years and nine months. One of the DGPs served for just three months.

There are any number of theories and stories about why  K.B. Singh had to bow out before completing two years in office. While one of these stories, apocryphal or real, says Singh, who has been appointed chairman-cum-managing director of Odisha State Road and Transport Corporation, fell from grace as the state government found intelligence fed by his team as misleading in some cases another attributes his downfall to an instance of alleged misdemeanour during his  Sambalpur visit which was his last as the director general of state police.

But while it is hard to verify the truth of such allegations there is no denying the sense of bafflement in the top echelons of state’s police administration over the sudden decision of the state government to show Singh the door. Some sympathetic officers feel that he should have been given more time to accomplish his plans. “An officer must get an opportunity to execute his plans because such things take time. Unexpected marching orders create uncertainty and end up demoralising officers,” said a former police officer.

Another cited a case in Kerala wherein the court intervened in a similar case. “ Abrupt transfers lead to insecurity and also cause humiliation. It is not good for the force which not only maintains general law and order but also fights the Maoist rebels. It is all the more important in states like Odisha where the naxals are quite active. Unless the person at the top gets time he cannot plan long term strategies,” said the officer.

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