“Pronam”, the city police initiative for the safety and security of the senior citizens living alone in Kolkata, has witnessed a jump in its membership this year. While the total membership was more than 14,000 last year, the figure now stands at 16,000.

With more and more elderly citizens applying for its membership through both online and offline modes, the average number of application received monthly is around 700 to 800.

“We are currently receiving over 30 applications for enrolment each day and the monthly average figure of application now stands at 700-800. Although some applications get rejected due to the age bar of 65 years and a few are pending for enquiry, around 2,000 elderly persons are being annually included in its ambit. With the outreach of Pronam expanding over the years, we hope that the membership figure will increase further,” said retired IPS officer Satyajit Bandyopadhyay who is also the OSD and EO of the Community Policing Wing (CPW) that runs the project.

Several measures have been undertaken by CPW to bring the elderly citizens who are living alone under the scheme and provide them with essential care.

“We ensure that the officers from the local police station pay frequent visits to the houses of elderly citizens and it has been a remarkable success as many senior citizens who were earlier not aware of the scheme got themselves enrolled after these visits. Regular health check-up programmes are also being held and at least two to three monthly programmes are being organized by each police station to make the scheme more inclusive. Our initiative of organizing blood donation camps has become a hit as the number of camps have increased to nearly 100 in 2019-20 compared to only 45 in 2018-19,” said Mr Bandyopadhyay.

A team of 13 police officers headed by the additional officers-in-charge of each police station has been assigned to organise and execute all the work of the scheme. “The police officers associated with this project regularly pay visits to the homes of lonely elderly persons, talk to them and keep tabs on their security as well as health issues,” he said.

Recently 111 Pronam members of different police stations attended the annual sports event of Kolkata Police at Alipore Bodyguards Lines. Although originally rolled out in 2009, the project initially received lukewarm response in its starting phase. But later, in the wake of several crimes that targeted the elderly citizens, many started registering their names in the scheme.

In July last year, the local police stations were asked to update the already existing database containing the details of lonely elderly couples and individuals. Beat constables under each police station were assigned to collect, update and maintain the database which would be linked with the Pronam database. CCTV cameras and security alarms have also been installed at the homes of elderly people as a part of safety mechanisms under the project.