City Buzz

‘Meals ready’ at Basavanagudi police station

In Features on July 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm


It is the first police station in the city to have a kitchen of its own, say the proud officials  

Sarmistha Acharya

Knuckle sandwiches are no longer the only dish served by police stations in the city. The next time you enter Basavanagudi police station, whether as complainant or suspect, you just might be treated to a hot meal, freshly made by the cops themselves.

While there is no concept of a kitchen in any of the police stations in Bengaluru, the Basavanagudi police station has set up what they say is the first of its kind kitchen in the city. Apart from tea and snacks, this kitchen also serves a lunch, consisting of rice, dal, sambar, rasam etc. And somewhat unusually for a police station, only vegetarian items are cooked here.

Mohammed Aslam, the police inspector in charge here whose idea it was, says that it was an idea he had had for many years, but could never implement before. “I first thought of it after repeatedly I noticed while sanctioning leave for other officers that most of the time they requested leave because of amoebic dysentery, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomach upset etc. These officers tend to get stomach related problems because they eat food outside which is not hygienic,” he says.

So when Aslam found in Basavangudi police station an unused room, he got it cleaned up and converted it to a kitchen. He even has a philosophy behind his police kitchen, which he says can help create a sense of togetherness that is as important as hygienic food. “Since the officials spend maximum of their time in the station, they should consider the police station as their second home and there is a saying that ‘the family that eats together stays together.’ I wanted the same kind of togetherness at the work place, and that was one more reason for setting up a kitchen,” says Aslam.

The fund for constructing the kitchen and purchasing vessels and appliances were pooled in by the staff, with the bulk of the share coming from Aslam himself. The daily expenditure for the food is shared equally by the staff.
Interestingly, apart from the staff, the meals for the suspects in the lock-up – who are not held for more than 48 hours – too are cooked in-house. Aslam explains, “Earlier the food for those in the lock-up was being brought from outside, but now we provide it from our kitchen. It also helps avoid the security problem of someone possibly mixing something in their food.

Buransav Nadaf, an ex-serviceman who is currently a constable in Basavanagudi police station, voluntarily took the responsibility to cook the food and prepare tea. “Every day, about 20 to 22 people have lunch which is cooked in the station. To do this, I am helped by other officers,” said Nadaf.  
Manjunath G Killedar, a police constable in Basvangudi police station said that the staff was pleased with the fact that they are getting healthy food of their choice since the kitchen was started.  “It was simply a waste of time earlier, when we were having lunch outside. Even after spending money, we never used to get healthy food, but the kitchen has solved that,” said Killedar.

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