GUWAHATI, June 1 � The financial crunch faced by the Government of Assam has seriously affected the functioning of the law and order machinery as no money was released to the police for running the day-to-day affairs in the last couple of months. Shortage of funds, particularly for buying petroleum products, may seriously affect the performance of the men in uniform in the days to come, if immediate steps are not taken to deal with the problem.
Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that the Government did not release funds for maintenance of office, motor vehicles, etc, to the police for the months of April and May. If this trend continues for some time, the police personnel would face serious hardship. Sources said that procurement of petroleum products is the main issue, as the vehicles cannot be taken off the roads. On their part, the petrol pump owners, who have substantial amounts of outstanding bills, cannot keep giving fuel on credit to the police for an indefinite period and there have been instances where the petrol pumps wrote formal letters to the district Superintendents of Police expressing their inability in this regard. It is a fact that sometimes the police officers are forced to use their �influence� to get fuel to keep the vehicles on the roads, sources admitted.
Moreover, because of the failure of the Government to release funds, the damaged vehicles could not be repaired on time, which also affected the mobility of the police personnel. Very often, because of shortage of vehicles, the police are forced to hire private vehicles and there is huge backlog of the payments due to the owners of such vehicles.
Sources admitted that the stationary provided in the offices of the police are supplied by the contractors and they are still supplying such materials knowing fully well that they would get the money some day. But the problem is payment of telephone bills and because of shortage of funds, the bills could not be cleared on time. This has resulted in disconnection of a large number of phones of the police, including those of a number of police stations. Though the police personnel are using their own mobile phones, it is difficult for the common people to contact the police in case of emergency.