BENGALURU: THE alleged suicide attempt by Sumathi S, a Home Guard, at the Traffic Management Centre in the city highlights the plight of the 620 Home Guards attached to the City Police. With salaries pending for four months, they have been scraping through every day.
A Home Guard, who did not wish to be named, said, “We have never received our salaries on time. Usually, we have to wait at least three months and this time it has been four months. Though it affected our families, we used to manage the expenses. But this time, the situation is worse as children of many Home Guards are waiting to join schools.”
“I earn `12,000 every month and our contracts are renewed every six months. We get our salaries every three, or sometimes, four months. To meet monthly expenses, we have to take loans and by the time we get our salaries, a major part of it goes towards paying off the interest,” he said.
Another Home Guard said, “To survive without an income, especially when most of us don’t have any another source of financial support, is very difficult. This is a pathetic state and it doesn’t seem to have an end.” Availing leave is also not an option as they lose pay, said the Home Guard.
The personnel added, “I have run from pillar to post for my salary as I have to pay for my mother’s medicines and treatment. When I approached high-ranking officers, they directed me to the cashier. He asked me to come the next, day but whenever I approach him, the reply is always the same -- ‘naale baa’ (come tomorrow). We have never got our salary on time.”
A police officer said, “Bangalore City Police pays salaries to Home Guards. Payment of salaries has been delayed due to insufficient funds.”
City Police Commissioner N S Megharikh said, “There have been some issues with payment of salaries to Home Guards. A new system is now in place and the salary will be issued every month. The Home Guards will get their salaries on Saturday. I came to know of the problem recently and have taken it up. There will be no delay in the future.”
R Hithendra, Additional Commmissioner of Police (Admin), told Express, “I admit there has been a delay in salary payment. The Home ministry has sanctioned funds for the salaries. The salaries will be transferred to their bank accounts hereafter. Earlier, they were paid from the office. As Home Guards are not permanent employees, there were some problems in getting funds from the allocated budget. If any Home Guard has a financial crisis, they can approach me personally or can call me over phone or drop a message. We are committed to addressing their problems.”