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Mumbai police: From fat to fit

Last updated on: April 22, 2010 11:44 IST

Mumbai police: From fat to fit

A Ganesh Nadar and Dominic Xavier check out how Mumbai's policemen are shedding flab.

If Mumbai Police Commissioner Dhanushkodi Shivanandan has his way, overweight Mumbai policemen and women will soon be history.

As part of Shivanandan's plan to ensure that the law enforcers get into shape, the Mumbai police is building gymnasiums in police stations across the city.

Joint Commissioner of Police, Law & Order, Rajnish Seth told rediff.com, "Our aim is to build a gym in every police station. In some places this is not possible because of space constraints. But you will find a gym in at least one of five stations. So police personnel can go to the nearest gym."

The Mumbai police thus far has built 21 gyms for the city's 91 police stations.

The police force has a financial incentive to get fit: A monthly allowance of Rs 250 for all those declared fit. Overweight cops are not entitled to this allowance. Every police zone in the city -- there are 13 -- has a BMI (body mass index) machine which check on police personnel under its jurisdiction.

If the BMI is fine, the policemen/women gets the allowance. If not, they need to hit the treadmills till they achieve the prescribed BMI.

rediff.com visited a police gym in Naigaum, an area well-known for its body building culture in north-central Mumbai. It was swank, air-conditioned with plenty of branded exercise machines.

Ramesh Rajaram, a member of the police force for 29 years, is in charge of the gym. "I have always been interested in body building so they put me in charge," he says.

Even in the heart of cosmopolitan Mumbai, policemen and women cannot exercise together. Men work out between 6 am and 10 am and between 4 pm and 10 pm; women do likewise between 11 am to 3 pm.

Asked if senior police officers worked out at the gym, Rajaram says, "One day at 6.30 am Commissioner Shivanandan came and exercised for an hour. Two DCPs (deputy commissioners of police) and one ACP (assistant commissioners of police) are regulars."

Ashok Tambe, who joined the police force in 1979, says he is 53, but looks much younger and is absolutely fit. "I come here five days in a week," he says.


Image: Mumbai policemen work out at a city gym