Police Kiosk Suspicion
Updated: Mar 6, 2020
Just after taking this photo of a man pulling back the plastic wrapping from this brand new police kiosk, a paranoid and belligerent traffic policeman (visible in this image, behind the stepladders, wearing white and khakis), demanded to know why I was photographing the booth - As if it was some top-secret Dr. Who-style teleporter.
If I had told him that it was a free country, I don't believe he would have understood what I was saying. Instead, I told him that I was with the print media. His suspicion evaporated. Strangely enough in a country where press freedoms are not the highest in the world, the press corps still commands the ability to cow the police and the government.
As far as the kiosk goes, I discovered that the municipal government was installing 400 of these across the metropolis and despite being rather utilitarian, it turns out that each of them costs Rs 700,000 ($9,500), which is nuts.
Not that they don't have some value. For years, Bangalore's traffic police have been unwitting guinea pigs for scientists studying the effect off vehicular air pollution on human beings. Forced to stand for hours on busy streets in their relentless quest to impose some order on India's quintessentially chaotic and vehicle-heavy urban streets, it is not unusual for traffic police to develop lung and cardiovascular diseases over the years. Maybe even paranoia.
The government's concern for their welfare has been lethargic as best. It took five years of complaints and suggestions by police and researchers for example, before the government conceded to equip the police with cloth face masks. Now, years later after more clamoring, these enclosed control booths have shown up.