GB Nagar home guards feed unemployed migrants without masks, salaries - Hindustan Times
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GB Nagar home guards feed unemployed migrants without masks, salaries

BySanjeev K Jha, Noida
Apr 13, 2020 04:25 PM IST

Feeding hundreds of unemployed workers and their families in Noida’s Sector 8 is a bitter-sweet experience for Satish Kumar, a home guard. The sight of families eating makes him think of his own eight-year-old daughter and wife. They live in Bulandshahr and have no ration or money. Kumar, too, has no money to send them; he hasn’t been paid yet.

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“They have no ration, no money. My daughter told me yesterday she has not had any milk in 15 days. I am helpless as I haven’t received my salary for March,” he said.

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Kumar is one among the nearly 600 home guards—deployed at collectorate, police stations, other government offices and on emergency duties such as distribution centres for essential commodities, including sealed hot spots—who are yet to receive their salaries for the month of March.

The ground reality shows the orders issued by the Central and state governments are not being followed. After the announcement of lockdown, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had announced that the wages or salaries of any government employee will not be cut and had directed government authorities to “ensure timely payment of salaries”.

“Forget salaries, we don’t even have masks,” said another home guard Sujeet Chowdhary, who added that to top it all they were being ill-treated by their seniors.

Pointing at dozens of his colleagues working near Sector 22, a hot spot, he said, “See, we are working in the most dangerous areas. But, has anyone noticed that we have not been given masks. Either we use our old masks or we use our towels to save ourselves.”

Chowdhary’s colleague Dinesh Singh was rebuked by his platoon commander when he asked for masks two days ago. “He said that nobody has invited us to work as home guards. He has made it clear that that they will not provide us any protective gear. When I asked him about March’s salary, he said that it will be given once this crisis is over,” he said.

When contacted, GB Nagar district commandant (home guards) Vedpal Singh Chaprana said that salaries could not be processed in the district treasury due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Everyone is on duty these days. It is a time-taking exercise. We have not collected the muster rolls from guards’ respective places of posting. It will be verified first. Then, we will send the compiled report to the treasury, from where it will be processed to banks for payment,” he said.

When asked about his salary, Chaprana replied: “Our case is different. We are not the part-time employees.”

Asked when the home guards were likely to get face masks, Chaprana’s response was a light-veined, “The arrangement will be made.”

Since the outbreak in December last year, Covid-19 pandemic has claimed over 1 lakh lives globally and 326 in India, where an increasing number of states, including Uttar Pradesh, have made it mandatory to wear face masks before going out to get essential supplies amid a nationwide lockdown. Governments have said citizens who are caught without a face mask could even face jail. Many countries that have reopened post lockdowns have reported a second wave of infections.

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