‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’: Poor watchmen hope for Acche Din
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi turning the table on the Congress through prefixing his name with ‘Chowkidar’ has caught the fancy of the BJP leaders and the hardcore Modi fans. Prefixing names with ‘Chowkidar’ having become a fad on the social media platforms, the real- time ‘Chowkidars’ are hoping that their plight would now be better, given the neglect they have long been in.
Lowly paid as they are, these unassuming men and women whom one can find working as guards in offices, banks, business establishments, schools, hospitals and housing societies remain embroiled in an incessant battle against poverty. The guards are paid anything between measly sums of Rs 5000 to Rs 16,000 per month as remuneration for being the Chowkidars. If the above mentioned sums look meagre spare a thought for thousands of ‘Gram Prahris’ or village watchmen who are paid a sum of Rs 1200 only a month in villages o the state.
Satpal Singh, a security guard working in a residential school of Dehradun, said, “I get a fixed salary of Rs 7000 per month and apart from it, I get no other benefit like medical reimbursement. The duty hours are not fixed and we usually work for 12 hours a day. Due to meagre salary, I cannot keep my family with me here in Dehradun. I have kept them in my village in Pauri district.’’ Those employed with the private security companies are paid a similar amount, but they get medical health cover under the Employee State Insurance (ESI) and Provident Fund.
The director of Guardwell Security Service Private Limited, Satish Mundepi said that there are about 7500 security guards associated with different companies in Uttarakhand. He informed that a security guard is paid in- hand salary of Rs 6700. Mundepi further said that the state has now increased the minimum salary and from next month, they would get an in- hand salary of Rs 8300 per month. The company deducts a fixed amount from their salary for Provident Fund and deposits an equal amount in the PF account, he added.
Darshan Lal, a village watchman, said that he along with 350 other gram praharis of district Chamoli have not received their salaries since November 2017. “We are paid a paltry sum of Rs 1200 per month and this remuneration too we have not received over the past one and half years. Our association is demanding payment of the pending salary and increase in the remuneration, but the government has paid no heed. I now hope that Modi ji would understand the pathetic condition we are in and would do something to help us live like human beings,’’ he said.
Saturday, 23 March 2019 | Gajendra Singh Negi | Dehradun
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