Cops take break from chasing crooks, cook for migrants

For all these years, a day’s work in Chittorgarh’s Chanderia police station involved busting international drug and child trafficking rackets. But, cops there are now involved in an uncharted territory — proving their culinary skills. A 30-member staff of the police station working in two shifts has now taken the responsibility of serving 200 migrant workers. They are no longer focussed on patrolling highways, tracking criminals and preparing reports and chargesheets. They are a ll busy ensuring the right amount of salt and ingredients in food since the outbreak of pandemic in Bhilwara on March 20. For the last few weeks, one of the most important duty of constable-cum-driver Gajendra Singh is to call migrant labourers to collect food packets twice a day . “I am from a curfew-hit town Bhilwara. I have not seen my family since March 16 despite my home being barely 45 km away . But, I am happy that since the lockdown, I have not ferried any criminal and have instead helped feed thousands of poor ,” said Singh. Every afternoon, the staff comes together for cooking on the police station’s compound. Women constables — Sunita Jat and Alka Tailor — take over as captains till the food is prepared. They decide the menu, quantity of vegetables and ingredients. “It gives the feeling of home away from home. It’s like an honour as I am the one directing my superiors — SHO and ASI — and they sportingly follow my advice,” said Jat. She had gone home to Sikar a month ago and lives in police quarters. Before entering into a commitment of providing food till the lockdown period is over, SHO Anil Joshi asked his staff’s approval for the same. “Once they showed interest, I asked them to contribute to the free meal scheme. I am so happy today that even the new recruits who has joined just a few months ago has contributed,” said Joshi. The station cooks one meal so that other functions are not affected. The other meal is provided by civil society members. “Every morning, the meal is decided and circulated on our WhatsApp group. Accordingly , we purchase vegetables. Dry ration including wheat, pulses, soybean and chana has been stocked for weeks. I have learned how to manage a feast of 500 people with ease,” said ASI Rais Shiekh, who along with second ASI Subhash Yadav are responsible for stock, cooking and distribution. What keeps you motivated for a task you are not trained for? Yadav replied, “It is the blessings which we get from the needy ,” said Yadav.