No pay for Maharashtra's Home Guards
A majority of the 42,000-strong force of the Home Guards in Maharashtra are posted in railway stations, in an attempt to help the Railway police in securing stations. It's considering the fact that two of the most recent terror attacks in Mumbai have been on trains, and at a major Railway station.
But a majority of the guards have not been paid their daily remuneration over the last four months.
A case in point is Jayant Gokhale, who is struggling for money these days.
"How will I meet my expenses," said Jayant Gokhale, Home Guard, Maharashtra.
The guards do not get a salary, but are only given daily remuneration.
"My father needs a heart surgery. My mother too needs an eye operation. If I was earning, I could have helped too," said Suraj Babar, Home Guard, Maharashtra.
After the July 11, 2006 serial train blasts in Mumbai, Home Guards were deployed in stations to help the Railway police. It's a crucial posting since stations have been venues of terror attacks in the recent past, most notably in 2006, and November last year.
About 80 per cent of the 42,000 strong force of Home Guards is posted at railways stations. Their daily remuneration was increased from Rs 90 to 200 in September 2008. But that increased amount is reflected only on paper. Senior officers say that the reason for that is shortage of funds.
"The remuneration has increased, but our funds come in April which have been spent by now. In the Nagpur Assembly, the Government set aside a Rs 11 crores package for this. The money should be made available in 15 days," said B N Raut, Deputy Commandant General, Home Guard, Maharashtra.
Skeptics say that the guards would not do their job with diligence if they remain unpaid.
It's a worrying factor for a city facing a constant threat to its security.