Delhi Police has ended the cycle maintenance allowance given to constables and head constables who make up more than half of the estimated 80,000-strong force. Last year it launched a drive to motivate constables to patrol the city's neighbourhoods on cycles - a practice still in vogue in cities around the world - but it failed to take off.
In its recommendations to the central government for forwarding to the Seventh Pay Commission, Delhi Police has dropped the allowance - Rs. 60 per month - that was originally meant for taking care of bicycles used by junior-level police officers for performing their official duties.
The allowance was earlier a measly Rs.30. It was revised by the Sixth Pay Commission in 2008.
"Almost every policeman owns a motorcycle or a scooter these days and no one rides a cycle. So, there was no point in continuing with this allowance, which in any case is like a proverbial drop in the ocean for them," an officer who did not wish to be named told IANS.
An estimated 50,000 constables and head constables are posted at over 180 police stations around the city.
According to a senior officer, the cycles were used for patrolling the city's roads and streets but the practice died a slow death many years ago.
"Delhi has changing weather. It's either very hot or cold or raining. So, cycle is obviously not the choice of transport of the policemen, especially when they are
responsible for the safety of the city and residents," the officer said.
In an age of fast cars and high-tech gadgets, cycles were hardly expected to find favour with the policemen.
"It was started on a trial basis but failed," said another officer; for starters, there were no takers as most policemen felt that the British era law should be done away with.
Officers of the rank of assistant sub-inspector and inspector will continue to get Rs.300 per month for maintaining their scooters or motorcycles meant to carry out patrols.
Delhi Police officers also get allowances for washing, kit maintenance, rations and training.