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‘I want to remain a social worker’

Maharashtra’s minister of state for Finance, Rural Development, Deepak Kesarkar belongs to Shiv Sena, represents the Sawantwadi Assembly Constituency and a member of the 13th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. This guardian minister of Sindhudurg district also prefers the role of a social worker than ruling a state. He spoke about the work done by him for improving law and order in the state, addressing cyber crime issues and welfare of the police department with our Editor-in-Chief Vaidehi Taman. 

What is your comment about recent law and order situation in Maharashtra?

We are trying our best to improve the law and order in the state. One of the most important development is the introduction of technology such as CCTV, CCTN systems all over and online FIR filing. Secondly, prevention measures were not effectively used previously, but now action is taken against anyone possessing criminal background.

To prevent cyber crimes, we have started centres all over Maharashtra. Each district has a cyber crime branch inter connected with each other. Our responsibility is not only to maintain the law and order but also to educate people.

People belonging to which religion is more involved in committing crimes?

We are the part of the government and there’s no particular religion responsible for any crime. I believe areas where poverty is extreme, are the soft targets.

Cyber-crime rate has doubled as compared to the past but police are unable to resolve them effectively. What steps you are taking to address this issue?

Recently, we have connected all the districts in Maharashtra with cyber labs and you’ll see the results in coming months. However, our limitations in operating come in case of international sites as we cannot block them immediately. We are advancing our systems and the situation is better now as we’re having alliance with different countries.

After so many awareness initiatives, why haven’t the crime rate in rural areas declined yet?

Now, we see a major sense of awareness in women as many of them are coming forward to register complaint. People move around very safely in Mumbai at night. Such law and order can be seen only in Maharashtra and nowhere else in the country. But, there are other crimes like illicit liquor and we are trying to crack down those areas from where the crime emerges.In the recent past, extortion cases or underworld activities have surfaced. Is there any plan to tackle these crimes?

People are afraid to complain in such cases. They have to come forward and show some courage to lodge complaints. Once a case gets registered, others too will come forward to complain.

Have you taken any step to combat stress of police force?

We have a target to build one lakh more houses for the police. They will be offered loans to purchase their own homes. To save their travelling time and give them more comfort, another major initiative, that’s in its designing stage, is to give hostel accommodations near police stations with every modern facility. Police personnel will mandatorily have to undergo regular medical check-up.

When will eight hour work days become a reality for police personnel?

Experiment of this system has already started in certain police stations. But, we have a police force of only two lakh people and that’s insufficient. When they join duty they make their mind ready that they are sacrificing their lives for their country.

Looking at the geographical condition of the state there is shortage of man power in police department

We are constantly recruiting additional personnel. There is immense financial strain on the state. Still certain departments (like police dept) are given the liberty to employ people and district level recruitment is in progress.

When you first took over this ministry, what was the very first challenge that came to your mind?

In regulations and security, Maharashtra is No.1 in India. But, that’s not sufficient as same system must be effectively implemented in rural areas too. Mumbai is covered with CCTV network that helps in identifying criminals. But rural areas lack that facility. One main constraint is that we are a huge state though we stand first for imparting quality training of our police forces. Ten percent of the district planning committee fund will be allotted for CCTV installation project in rural areas.

Recently, few members from your party said that they’re happy with the Fadnavis government and they’ll be joining BJP.

Practically this will never happen. In politics, baby cry of members is very common to get leaders’ attention. Though sometimes, there are some internal fights amongst members as well.

Why did you quit NCP?

I left NCP as I was fighting against its criminal element. Right from the beginning I was with Congress. After it split, many of the Maharashtra politicians remained with NCP. I always made it very clear to my party that I will not work with criminal elements. I am a social worker as I don’t have any political background. As a social worker, I joined politics because I felt this is the platform to deliver justice to people.

BJP has inducted several candidates possessing criminal background. What’s your thought on that?

BJP needs to think if they want to accept such corrupt people in the party. The Sangh Parivar, from which BJP emerges as a political party, originally belongs to Konkan. They created a platform for good people with Hindu ideology. Konkan is a land where BJP’s history lies, if that land creates criminals, it is unjustified. If BJP wants to shield corrupt leaders we will have to again fight against it.

So, which party is 100 per cent clean right now?

I believe, BJP came to come power due to Narendra Modi’s charisma and Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign. People lost faith in Congress party due to its involvement in corruption. They expect BJP to be a non-corrupt party and the Prime Minister has called for – ‘zero tolerance to corruption’. Onus lies on state leaders to implement what our PM has promised the nation.

What do you think about Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership?

Uddhav Thackeray is a real fighter. He has chosen the maximum number of MLAs which didn’t exist even during Shiv Sena’s reign. He has an ability to fight. I joined Sena only because this party always stood by the poor. Bal Thackeray employed the local people in various corporations.

What do you want advice common men on security measures?

The number of eve teasers getting arrested has increased significantly in the state. I want people to keep faith on the police department, contact them whenever any difficulty strikes or else approach us. We have also launched an app with panic button for women safety but only around 56000 people have subscribed to it.

Where can we see you after five years?

I want to remain a social worker. An ordinary person like me cannot have a dream to become Maharashtra’s Chief Minister. We are organising a program in two districts of Maharashtra – Sindhudurg and Chandrapur, where steps are being taken to increase the per capita income for every sector including agriculture. If it becomes successful we can replicate the same in the entire state.

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