The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is having a rethink on its decision to terminate the services of 25,000 home guards attached with police stations and engaged in traffic duty after an uproar over the move.
Last week, the state police headquarters had issued orders to all district Superintendents (SPs) to terminate the services of 25,000 Home Guards. Though Additional Director General (Police headquarters) B P Jogdand refused to comment on the reason behind the move, sources said the decision was taken owing to budget constraints in the wake of the Supreme Court order hiking honorarium of home guards by 40 per cent — from Rs 500 to Rs 672.
At present, nearly 90,000 home guards are deployed in the state police. Last year, the UP Police had attached an additional 25,000 home guards.
Sources said the plan to do away with 25,000 home guards was mooted at a meeting in August this year when Chief Secretary R K Tiwari had conveyed the plan to senior police officers after the state Finance Department advised the state Home Department to pay home guards “within available budget”.
According to a senior government official, hiking the daily allowance of the home guards would have cost the state an extra expenditure of Rs 10 to Rs 12 crore every month.
A senior officer also claimed that the remaining home guards on duty may also lose regular employment as the state government may decide to reduce the number of their “duty days” from 25 to 15 days a month. Home Guards get honorarium only for days on duty.
The move created strong objections from UP Home Guards Avaitanik Adhikari Evam Karamchari Association which held a meeting on Tuesday in Lucknow to condemn the move. The association’s state general secretary, Mujibur Rehman Ansari, said if the government does not take back its decision Home Guards would stage a protest in Lucknow. “We will hand over a memorandum in this regard to the government Thursday,” said Ansari.
By late evening, a senior officer of the Home Department said that the government is having a relook of its decision and mulling changes.
Meanwhile, PTI reported that Home Guard Minister Chetan Chauhan has said that no home guard will be removed. “I have talked to officers of the police department and asked them not to remove anyone. They might reduce their working days,” PTI quoted Chauhan as saying.
Earlier when asked about the matter, Chief Secretary RK Tiwari told reporters in Ayodhya, “Diwali will be celebrated in every household. We are mulling on how this problem can be resolved.”
— With PTI inputs