CHENNAI:They too sport the khaki uniform given by the police department. But, they are shy of calling themselves policemen, as even a watchmen in the city would be drawing better salaries than them.
The 10,500-odd Youth Brigade personnel, enrolled in the state police last year, now remain disillusioned. With more than 10-hour duty and just Rs 7,500 as monthly honorarium - the word is important as they are not eligible for a salary - the Youth Brigade members say the payment is not even enough to make both ends meet.
Worse, in a stress-filled work schedule, they are eligible for just 12 days leave in a year with n
“Even availing this 12- days leave is a Herculean task. Testing our patience, we have to wait for hours together before the tables of three or four officers to get it. If the we take leave last minute even for emergencies, Rs 500 gets deducted from the salary,” says S Ravinder (name changed), a youth brigade member, who holds a bachelor degree and joined the brigade with the hope of getting into the police force.
Now, he regrets his decision since even private security agencies offer around Rs 20,000 monthly salary and a host of other benefits for men of his age and educational qualification.
“At least for our toil of the last one year, the government must absorbs us into the police service. Who else are more trained than us?” he says.
The reason for much of the resentment is the promise made during their enrolment in last March that after a year of service in the brigade, they would be absorbed into the police force.
But, a year has passed on with no assurance coming forth from the top rung of the police.
Though two members of brigade have lost their lives in the line of duty, their family members were not eligible for any compensation.
“Leave alone compensation in case of any eventuality, we don’t even get paid for the travel expenses incurred on account of work. The most cheap accommodation I could find in Chennai costs around Rs 2,500 and even taking the roadside food accounts for at least Rs 2,000. Then comes the travel expenses. So I could send hardly Rs 2,000 to my family,” says another brigade personnel, laying bare his monthly economics.
Last week, a WhatsApp message was circulated in their circles asking the brigade members to abstain from work for three days starting May 1 as a mark of protest.
But, with no response from the top police brass, the brigade members say they are facing a bleak future.
They say their long-time dream and aspiration to serv in the police force have been dashed.