V K Singh, who has turned around Telangana prisons, wants to improve the police force in his home state, Bihar.
Is Nitish Kumar paying heed?
Vinoy Kumar Singh, the director general of Telangana prisons, recently sent a letter to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar volunteering his services to improve law and order in the state.
He hasn't got a response so far.
"The Bihar police has a tremendous force, especially the constabulary, but it is getting a lot of flak about deteriorating law and order. Being a policeman and a Bihari, I really feel pained," Singh, an Indian Police Service officer, tells tells Archana Masih/Rediff.com.
Singh worked with the Bihar police on deputation between 2001 and 2005 and raised a Special Task Force.
"When I worked there, the same force had performed wonderfully. There is nothing wrong with the force. They need leadership and direction. I know it can be tackled in flat six months," says Singh, who was allotted the Andhra Pradesh cadre on completion of his training in the IPS.
After Telangana was formed in 2014, he was assigned work in the new state.
Singh has also served with the Greyhounds, the anti-insurgency force specialising in anti-Maoist operations and jungle warfare in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
"Four years ago, the Telangana prison department was in very poor shape and now it is amongst the best. No prison in the country can compare with Telangana," says Singh. "They have become industrial hubs and are like resorts. We are working towards changing the mindset of prisoners."
"If it can be done in Telangana," he declares, "it can be done in Bihar."
If his offer were to be accepted by the Bihar government, he says the first thing he would do is tell the police personnel on the ground to forget the past and realise that the Constitution and people have given them a uniform which is a responsibility.
"It is not power. It has been given to serve," he says.
"I feel if I am able to touch their heart there will be tremendous response. The constabulary of Bihar has to be taken care of. When they know the leadership is good they are willing to lay down their lives also," he asserts.
Singh has launched various programmes to reform and rehabilitate prisoners in Telangana and established a system to report corruption among prison staff. Five hundred prison-made products are sold in 50 outlets under the brand 'My Neta'. The department also provides shelter to beggars in an erstwhile prison facility.
Countering the assumption that a richer state like Telangana would have better resources to run a police department than Bihar, he says the Bihar government has given the police resources which may not be the best, but are definitely better than many other states.
"Good administration is provided by the officer, not by the government. 80 per cent can be achieved by the officers themselves, 20 per cent is left to government," he points out.
"The main reason why 30 per cent of the country is below the poverty line and lagging behind is because of lack of good administration," says Singh whose elder brother retired from the Indian Administrative Service and lives in Patna.
The police, he feels, has distanced itself from the people because of its bad behaviour.
"Behaviour comes from training which needs to be overhauled. Police training has been inherited by the British. Every district should have a training centre which teaches that the uniform is a token of service, an opportunity to do justice," he says.
Police training must include total personality assessment, he feels.
"We also have to take care of the grievances of police personnel, why they are not able to perform to their level best."
As director general prisons, Singh says amongst the department's foremost achievements is Anand Ashram, the project that has made Hyderabad beggar free.
Nearly 10,000 beggars have been housed in unused observation homes for boys. They are provided food, physical training, education and employment in petrol stations. A doctor and psychologist also check the inmates.
"Telangana prisons are corruption free. There is a Rs 10,000 reward for anyone who can prove corruption."
"The number of prisoners is going down in Telangana because of the rehabilitation and reformation programme. 5 sub jails have been closed because there are no prisoners."
Improved amenities has brought the death rate of prisoners from 56 in 2014 to 8 deaths in 2018.
The money that is earned by the sale of products made by prisoners goes into a prison development fund which has been used to hire psychologists, social cousellors etc.
"We have done all this with the same resources," says Singh. "The government hasn't given any additional resources."