Manglauru, Apr 16, 2018 : The Home Guards in Dakshina Kannada district are in utter despair. They are spread across the district for polling duty. The financially crippled personnel are struggling to make ends meet. Most of these Home Guards haven’t received their honorarium since month of February.
A Home Guard, wishing to remain anonymous, said life has become difficult as he doesn’t have any money left with him while personal and professional responsibilities are mounting. He has now decided to borrow money from friends to run his family, and also keep some money aside, so he can afford two meals a day for himself, while on election duty.
According to Roopa D, inspector general of police (Home Guards and Civil Defence), at least 15,000 Home Guards will be deployed on election duty across the state. These include 800 from Dakshina Kannada district.
“They expect us to do all sorts of work. However, when it comes to payment, we are always ignored. We haven’t received our honorarium since February,” said Nayana (name changed), a Home Guard. She is entitled to a payment of Rs 350 per day. Going by this calculation, she is due to get at least Rs 10,000. “To most people, Rs 10,000 may not mean much, but to Home Guards like me, it means a lot,” she said.
This isn’t the first time that the salary of Home Guards has been withheld. In the second half of last year, Home Guards in the district haven’t been paid for three months. Only after the matter escalated were the dues settled.
Dr Muralee Mohan Choontharu, district Home Guards commandant, told media the matter had already been discussed with the Mangaluru City police commissioner and the Dakshina Kannada district superintendent of police. He said salaries had been credited to those Home Guards who work in the commissionerate limits on April 14, but those in the SP limits haven’t been paid for almost two months.
“Their pay goes to their respective accounts directly. In case of any discrepancy, they need to bring it to my notice, failing which I will not be apprised of the situation. I have checked up this issue now. Those under the SP limits haven’t got their pay since February 11. They are likely to get their honorarium in a couple of days,” Dr Choontharu clarified.
Of the sanctioned strength of 1,000 Home Guards for the district, 935 vacancies have been filled. Of these, 340 Home Guards work in the police department– under the Mangaluru Commissionerate and the district police, while the rest are deployed in various other departments such as railway police and the NCC. A total 450 Home Guards are absorbed on a full-time basis. Matters need better handling.