Trouble has been brewing between two organisations constituted by the state government for securing private establishments and sensitive state-owned sites in the city by offering the services of security guards under their care.
The fledgling Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) has taken exception to illegal recruitment of guards conducted by the much-older Security Guards Board (Mumbai and Thane),as the latter is restrained from appointing any guards without consultation with MSSC.
We are aware that the Security Guards Board has been conducting fresh recruitments without the consent of the State Security Corporation. This is in contravention of the MSSC Act,2010. We have taken up the matter with the board and a notice has been sent on the issue, said Arup Patnaik,Managing Director of MSSC.
Officials from the SGB were unavailable for comment.
What caught the MSSCs attention was a notice dated April 23 this year on the SGBs website. The notice,which is still up on website,invites candidates who applied for the post of security rakshaks on the basis of an advertisement put out by SGB on May 10,2012,and who have submitted their documents between March 20 and March 26,2013 to complete further formalities and wait for the list of selected candidates to be put up online.
The SGB was constituted in July 1981 under the Maharashtra Private Security Guards (Regulation of Employment and Welfare) Act,1981,for regulating services of security guards working in factories and establishments through private agencies.
This was after the Maharashtra Rajya Suraksha Rakshak and General Kamgar Union approached the government stating that about 70,000 private security guards were working at factories and establishments in Greater Mumbai and Thane district. They pointed out that these guards were exploited and their working conditions were pathetic. A survey was then conducted through the Labour Commissioners office,and the grouses were found to be true.
The MSSC came into existence on April 19,2010,under the MSSC Act,2010,after a statute was passed by the legislature. The idea of raising a dedicated force for security had been under consideration of the state government for some time. The MSSC is the state-level counterpart of CISF and a result of a joint initiative of the Centre and state. Its mandate is to cater to the security needs of government offices,corporations,vital installations,public sector undertakings (PSUs),local bodies,banks,financial,religious and educational institutions,hospitals,infrastructure projects,malls and multiplexes etc.
What has led to the spat between the MSSC and the SGB is the stipulation under Section 24 of the MSSC Act that notwithstanding anything contained in the Maharashtra Private Security Guards (Regulation of Employment and Welfare) Act of 1981,no person shall be appointed by the Securities Guard Board or the Maharashtra Ex-Servicemens Corporation as a security guard without consultation with the Corporation).
Since its guards are trained by the state government and have powers to take offenders or trouble-makers into custody and hand them over to the nearest police station,the MSSC charges a higher fee than that for an average private security guard.
The MSSC will lose its competitiveness if the SGB keeps on recruiting private security guards. That is the main concern, said a state police officer.
The flipside is that under Section 23 of the MSSC Act,after the MSSC was formed,it was to absorb eligible candidates appointed by the SGB at the salaries they were drawing before the Corporation came into existence,and under the same service conditions. This has not taken off, said the officer.