Road accident
[Representational Image]Reuters

A Delhi policeman on Tuesday morning rammed his car into six sanitation labourers working on a flyover in Delh, killing three women. He told the police that he dozed off at the wheel and lost control of the vehicle.

"It all happened within seconds. I blinked and when I opened my eyes, I had three women under the wheels of my car," Hindustan Times quoted 59-year-old Rishipal as saying. 

The incident occurred at around 9:30 am on the Mehrauli-Badarpur flyover in south Delhi when the sub-inspector was returning home from a 12-hour long night shift at the Delhi Police Headquarters Police Control Room (PCR). Rishipal has been booked on charges of rash and negligent driving.

The deceased were identified as Meera, 55, Shakuntala, 55, and Maya, 28.

"Meera was killed on the spot, while the two other women succumbed to their injuries later at a hospital. An FIR has been lodged against the sub-inspector who was arrested from the spot and investigations are on in the case," IANS quoted a police official as saying.

Policemen on night shifts get less than four hours of sleep

The policemen on night or day duty work continuously for over 12 hours a day but get less than four hours to sleep. Nearly 7,500 personnel attend at least 30,000 PCR calls throughout the day, while 150 policemen are deployed at work in the PCR to attend calls made on helpline numbers, including ambulance.

"The personnel on night duty work under an ACP. They not only attend to calls but also send help. There are only 150 people at night while at least 300 people are required. The control room on an average receives more than 10,000 calls at night," HT quoted a police source as saying.

There are days when a policeman has to handle over 100 calls at a time, the police said, and added, "It is important for them to concentrate on each call. There is zero scope of error. Sometimes in emergencies, they are required to immediately send messages to the police stations to send help."

According to special CP, law and order, Deepak Mishra, this is due to staff shortage at the PCR that "needs to be dealt with". He added that a proposal to increase the strength of the force is being considered by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.