In an attempt to introduce transparency, the Mumbai police installed over 1,000 complaint boxes at various spots in the city; the maintenance of these boxes, however, seems to have skipped their mind.
Within a week of the boxes being installed, many were found tampered with. The lock of a box near an SBI branch in Malad (West) was found broken, while in Goregaon (East), attempts had been made to break open the boxes.
At a programme recently, State Home Minister R R Patil said citizens could now drop complaint letters in these boxes. He directed the police to register suo motu FIRs if they found complaints of a serious nature.
Residents of North region, where over 21 boxes were installed, said their complaints could fall in the wrong hands if the boxes were not protected. They said the police may have spent lakhs on buying and installing the boxes, but if they cannot maintain them, nobody would use them.
The police have planned to install around 1,000 such ‘drop boxes’ at all railway stations, bus depots, major bus stations, hospitals, educational institutions, places of worship, ATMs and multiplexes.
The police have installed 10 drop boxes in their respective jurisdiction. However, at Malad, Malwani and Bangur Nagar 15 drop boxes have been installed given the high crime rate in these areas.
DCP (zone 2) Nisar Tamboli said they were not aware of the boxes being tampered with. “We will request residents and neighbour vigil groups to keep an eye on these boxes to prevent complaints from being misplaced or falling into wrong hands.”