Monsoon also means police have to deal with the rains and this affects their work
On the evening of June 16, Sub-Inspector Sunil Thapa from the Helambu region police station had just returned after warning people living near the Melamchi River of possible flooding, as there had been incessant rains. for several hours.
“There were nine of us in the office,” Thapa recalls.
Soon after, the office building was suddenly hit by the wave of muddy water, which surprised officers.
“Our office was not very close to the river; however, as the water level had risen dramatically, he entered the office, ”Thapa said.
The area police office had already started receiving calls for help from villagers affected by the floods. However, since all of their rescue equipment was inside the building, they were powerless.
“Our agents have started taking out rescue equipment, furniture, files, computers and other things,” Thapa told The Post by phone from Helambu.
Two days later, on June 18, another flash flood triggered by heavy rainfall in the rural municipality of Helambu, Sindhupalchok district, washed away the entire station.
“We are currently working from small parts provided by the villagers,” Thapa said. “The local residents helped us by providing five rooms in different houses, where we kept all the office equipment. “
According to Thapa, as the space available is not sufficient for the staff, they plan to work in tents.
“But during the monsoon, it is not possible to work from a tent because of the rain,” Thapa told the Post.
Police officers stationed at the Helambu area police station are now busy cleaning up roads damaged by floods and landslides while also distributing relief supplies. They don’t know how long they’ll be working without a proper desk.
“We are collecting data on the total damage in the area, clearing the roads in coordination with local residents, distributing casualty relief supplies and other regular police work,” Thapa said.
The monsoon that began on June 10 has already wreaked havoc across the country, damaging property worth millions and displacing hundreds of families.
This means more work for the police who are already implementing restraining orders amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
But resources are limited, which means more challenges.
Many police stations across the country are still operating under tents since the April 2015 earthquakes.
This is not only the case in the rural hinterland, but even in the Capital.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Station has been doing its daily work from tents for six years.
According to Chief Superintendent Ashok Singh, head of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police, there are 11 tents in his offices in Teku.
“It’s good during the other seasons, but there are major problems during the monsoon when the tents start to leak. The tents have suffered significant wear and tear, ”Singh said. “Officers often have to clean up the water collected on the roofs of tents as well as indoors because there is no adequate drainage. ”
According to him, the rooms where requests for various police activities are recorded, the consultation rooms, the interrogation rooms and the dormitories are under tents.
Although construction of a new Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Chain building is underway in Teku, progress has been slow due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It will take another year and a half for the building to be completed and until then there is no choice but to work in tents,” Singh told the Post.
According to data provided by the Nepalese police, 143 police stations damaged by the earthquake are still under construction although 180 police stations were built during the six-year period.
“Without proper drainage, water gets into the tents, which we have to clean up every time it rains,” an officer from the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police said on condition of anonymity.
Nepalese police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Basanta Bahadur Kunwar said he was well aware that police have difficulty operating from tents.
He said office buildings are being built and their problems will end very soon.
But across the country, work is not being speeded up, by its own admission.
“Due to limited resources, construction of police stations is proceeding slowly,” Kunwar told The Post. “However, this did not affect the police services, as they carried out their responsibilities from rented offices in different parts of the country.”
But for Thapa and his officers in Helambu, the situation is difficult to manage.
“Since many rooms are filled with office items, there is very little space to sleep. It’s a bit difficult, ”said Deputy Inspector Thapa. “The office building was newly built, but now it has been destroyed. We don’t know when another will be built and how long we will have to manage that way.