HUBBALLI: New Police Commissioner Labhu Ram, who took charge from R Dileep in the twin cities, is entering a virtual battlefield in Hubballi-Dharwad.
There are multiple challenges in the twin cities for him – betting, land grabbing, gambling and drugs, among others.
The police chief, who is from Barmer, Rajasthan, and from 2004 IPS batch, has worked in districts like Dakshina Kannada, Chitradurga, Davangere and Bengaluru. Popular for his diligence and strictness in following the law, he played a prominent role in controlling the rowdy sheeters of Bengaluru. Theft and betting were other major crimes which he was successful in controlling.
The IPL greatly attracts people into indulging in betting, even with the help of imported machines. The web of betting has been hovering around Hubballi, with many people in the district putting crores of rupees into it. There were many cases unveiled since the start of IPL in mid-September. Ironically, since the Police Department team in Hubballi, led by DCP P Krishnakant, has tightened its control of betting in the urban areas, the criminals have moved to the villages. Now, there are hidden acts of betting continuing in the village dhabas and even the fields. The police are striving to control gambling, including matka, which had been suppressed for some time but is on the rise again.
There were recent cases of sex rackets that were found being carried on in the name of massage parlours. Theft of two-wheelers is worrying the people, who are afraid of parking their vehicles even at home in the night time. Rowdyism and sale of hooch is also going on in the district.
The last two months have witnessed several cases of drug vendors being arrested in the district as the police have taken a lead in reining the drug mafia here. In September alone, there were at least 18 cases of raid by the police, who seized about 30 kg ganja in rural parts of the district. The ABVP also started a postcard campaign demanding that the drug mafia be controlled for the safety, of especially the student community.
The Police Department has been working hard at controlling the criminal activities and the teams have arrested several groups involved in different crimes. Since the major responsibility of reining the criminals is in the hands of the police commissioner, however, many citizens feel this is a major challenge for Labhu Ram.