The lake department of the BBMP has not paid the home guards it employs for two months.
Home guards posted at various lakes in the city have not received their wages for the last two months.
Nitu (name changed) who is posted at a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)-maintained lake said, “I have not got my salary for two months, this happens very frequently with BBMP.” She has complained to the home guards’ office who has sent a letter to the BBMP. She hopes to be paid soon. BBMP pays them Rs 455 a day.
Rajappa P, District Instructor of Home Guards, Bengaluru North District said, “Our department will keep putting pressure on BBMP to release the funds soon.” He said that they ask the guards to wait for two months for any payments. If they are not paid within two months, the guards are told not to report at the department. “Home guards provide service to all government departments, so we expect the same respect and equal pay,” he said.
If any department does not pay our guards on time, we wait for two months, he continued.
Sridhar Kotre, Assistant Executive Engineer from BBMP, Lake Department said, “We have informed the finance department about the issue, and they will take action shortly.” Jayaram Raipura, BBMP Special Commissioner of Finance did not want to comment.
A lake in-charge from the Bengaluru South division said, “We have asked BBMP to take action soon because it has been more than two months and they are working without being paid.” Every guard who is posted at the lake comes to their division office to mark their attendance daily. If they do not show up, their salary is deducted.
There are approximately 5,300 home guards in Bengaluru including 1,840 home guards in Bengaluru south, 1,850 home guards in Bengaluru north, and 1,650 home guards in Bengaluru rural.
Home guards’ salaries vary based on where they are posted but the nominal salary is Rs. 455 per day. However, for traffic control and election duties, they are paid Rs. 750 a day. Each home guard is employed on a three-year contract basis but is allowed to break the contract and leave the force at any given time. After three years, they can choose to renew their contract, but if they are not physically fit, they do not get their job back.
Radhika (name changed) who is posted as a home guard in the metro station for nine months said, “I do get my salary on time but it is very common for home guards to not get paid on time.”
Home guards are a voluntary force and this leaves them with no job security. Statistics from the Karnataka Home Guards Departments show that nearly 4,000 home guard posts, out of the sanctioned 30,000, are vacant in the state.
Research shows the effect of job insecurity can be as large as the effect of that unemployment. A UN article states that, “economic insecurity is a threat to achieving Sustainable Development Goals and carries considerable personal and social costs. Both the experience of economic loss and its prospect impose material hardship and lead to poorer health. Economic insecurity affects people’s productivity as well as their ability to invest in their children’s education and health.”
Dr. S R Keshava Economics Professor at Bangalore University said, “Salaries must be paid as assured for the job undertaken. Every employee and their dependants’ livelihood rely on the salary. It is the right of an employee after he completes the assigned task.”