The annual Belagavi winter session has turned out to be a more-or-less a winter tour for many legislators. This was evident with the empty benches that witnessed on Day one of the ten-day sessions. Notwithstanding their seriousness towards the session, the government - year after year - spends an exorbitant amount of money for the ten-day affair. This year too, the government has earmarked a whopping Rs 35 crore for the Belagavi winter session.
From providing luxury accommodation for legislators to providing them with a lavish food (of course no dinner), the government is ensuring that the last Assembly session of this legislature has a smooth go. But the security personnel who have been deployed for the winter session have been given a raw deal by the state government. Forget good facilities; they are deprived of facilities that are as basic as toilet and bathroom.
The images of policemen carrying buckets of water rushing to the nearby field or empty spaces around the Suvarna Soudha for their morning ablutions are being splashed across the television channels insulting the 'Swachh Bharat' campaign.
What more, with no bathrooms too, the police personnel were seen bathing outside with cold water out in the open. The sight of police mass bathing at one side and on the other some of their colleagues eating their food with absolute no regard for hygiene is sheer despicable while our legislators enjoy a comfortable stay.
Indeed, our legislators enjoy their stay during the 10 day session. Check this. About Rs 12 crore is being splurged to accommodate them at 62 hotels in Belagavi and six hotels in Hubballi. Besides, Rs 6 crore has been earmarked for their transportation as Suvarna Soudha is located at Halaga-Bastawad village some 25 kilometres from Belagavi city. Legislators will be ferried everyday to-and-fro from Belagavi (or Hubballi) to Suvarna Soudha. Not just the luxury hotels, but they are treated to sumptuous food. However, this year, they are not being provided with dinner. But that is being reimbursed.
But police personnel suffer the same shabby treatment every year, but the authorities concerned seem to be learning no lessons from it. The district administration at least could have ensured minimum facilities like portable toilets to prevent policemen from defecating in the open. Like every year, this year too, nearly 3,000 police personnel who have been deployed for the winter session, have been accommodated at Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) hall, Bunts' Bhavan and also APMC Police Bhavan.
Speaking to a news channel, DCP Amarnath Reddy refused to accept that the police were deprived of basic facilities. He said that this year, they had made proper arrangements but some of them "complain unnecessarily." "Even if you serve food in gold plates to some, they will always crib," was how the officer retorted.
The fact that this was the plight of police personnel on Day one. One could only imagine their state of mind at the end of the ten-day session.