Pedalling a police story
By Sridevi S | Published: 29th July 2017 11:33 PM |
BENGALURU: The last few years have not been an easy ride for the police department in Karnataka. With a spate of suicides and attempted ones by its personnel, the threat of a strike over poor pay, overwork and staff shortage, the morale of the staff was low.
In a bid to boost the confidence of the force and encourage bonding, Additional Director-General of Police , Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) Bhaskar Rao had embarked on a statewide cycling tour with 52 KSRP men last week. The purpose of the tour was to build bonding, bridge the gap between the police and public, and to maintain their fitness.
The cycling expedition began from Bidar on July 12 and it ended in Bengaluru on July 25. The total distance covered was 1,756 km.
Rao, 53, known as a fitness buff among his fellow-mates, spearheaded the campaign. “Our main aim is to instill confidence among police personnel and paint a good picture about the department. Of course, we want to promote fitness and healthy living,” Rao said, adding, “I am the oldest here. All my fellow riders are in their 20s.”
The team covered 165-170 km on an average every day, depending on the weather conditions. “Cycling in the Western Ghats was amazing. The Shivamogga-Tirthahalli-Augumbe-Udupi-Mangaluru stretch, which is around 220 km, was the longest. We took a day-and-a-half to complete this,” he says. “Throughout the trip we have planted around 7,000 saplings in various localities. In the Hyderabad-Karnataka region and Belagavi-Maharashtra border, we went around with the ‘Kannada ulisi, Kannada Belesi’ placard. In Vijayapura, we pedalled around with a placard that asks people to build toilets and stop open defecation,” Rao said.
“Throughout our journey, people have welcomed us with open arms. We were staying at the KSRP battalions and have discussed on numerous topics every night. We visited many schools and I was surprised to know about the knowledge level of the children in rural areas. They know about Malala Yousafzai; they know about Emmanuel Macron and I was blown away by their intelligence,” Rao adds.
Other cycling enthusiasts too joined them. “When we were in Dharwad, 15 doctors joined us on their bicycles. In Bagalkot and Jamakhandi, several cyclists from the town pedalled along with us. Overall, it has been a wonderful experience,” Rao added.