GreNo: When the authorities don't act, the residents just have to step up
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GreNo: When the authorities don't act, the residents just have to step up

Residents of Greater Noida and its adjoining sub-division Dadri have started a neighbourhood watch in the absence of sufficient police security. 

GreNo: When the authorities don't act, the residents just have to step up

On August 24 residents of Vidya Vihar colony in Dadri, barely 15 km from Greater Noida, challenge five suspects during a night round of their colony. They nab three while two escape in the darkness. The residents had started a night watch after a house in the colony was burgled. On the same day Hapur resident Vinesh Kumar and his companion catch a pickpocket red-handed on a bus in Dadri. On August 23, Gaurav, a resident of Ghodi village, and his companions nab thieves breaking the lock of his racing bike in the parking of Alpha commercial belt. On August 22, residents of Delta 1, a sector in Greater Noida, catch a bootlegger and hand him over to policemen from Surajpur police station. On August 20, Hemant Kaushik, with another resident of Sector Xu 2, question a couple of suspects loitering in the sector. One suspect escapes and the other one, as it turns out, was carrying burglary tools in his bag.

Five days and over eight thieves caught!

Residents of Greater Noida and Dadri, two sub-divisions of Gautam Buddh Nagar, have taken up the task of catching thieves on their own, because the police are not effective enough — nor are they present in enough numbers.

Superintendent of Police (rural) Suniti Singh says the number of policemen deployed in rural parts of Gautam Buddh Nagar is fewer than 800. They are not only supposed to man 13 police stations but are also required to do rounds in the PCR (police control room) vans. Additionally, they are to make sure traffic is smooth at Pari Chowk and other congested roundabouts of the district. Some of them are deployed for clerical work at police stations, at the SP’s office and for security duties.

So about 600 policemen are supposed to provide security to 2,11,000 people (2011 census – the number is expected to have doubled or tripled since). No wonder, then, that residents are left to fend for themselves.

Hemant Kaushik and M Kumar, two vigilantes, came across the two thieves in Sector Xu 2 during one such round. “We encountered the suspects outside a shop at a trisection in the sector. When we started questioning them, one of them one ran away. A check of the other’s bag threw up theft tools and burgled water taps,” Kaushik recollects.

In Sector Xu 2 — where more than 200 families reside and where about 600 villas lie empty — every second house has been burgled. Every time there’s a theft, an FIR is lodged and the police do a routine inspection of the crime scene before closing the file.

Greater Noida Authority, which is supposed to provide security to sectors it constructed, makes guards available for the gates of a sector. But the boundary walls constructed around the sectors are not too high — leaving enough scope for the criminals to breach them.

What is true of Xu 2 is also true of most sectors in Greater Noida. Almost all residents have covered their front and rear balconies with iron or steel grilles.

And yet, the thieves strike with impunity!

Will the authorities step up? When?