Thursday, April 25, 2024

Opp feels for Home Guards volunteers


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Feb 26: Making a note of the plight of the Home Guards and Civil Defence volunteers, the Opposition camp on Monday drew the attention of the House on the need to grant some kind of financial security coverage to these volunteers, which the government acknowledges as a genuine concern but falls short of giving any commitment.
“We were often told their salaries are always delayed and they don’t enjoy any perks. The government should look at it on humanitarian grounds,” said VPP MLA Ardent Basaiawmoit, who raised the issue during the Question Hour of the Assembly here on Monday.
Basaiawmoit inquired if it is the responsibility of the Directorate of Home Guards and Civil Defence, which provides these volunteers, to look into their grievances.
Nongthymmai MLA and TMC state president, Charles Pyngrope, suggested a system to the department, wherein through an agreement, an amount that is to be paid to them should be deposited in the account of the Home Guards and Civil Defence department so that they can get their salaries on time.
Leader of Opposition Ronnie V Lyngdoh suggested that the government should come up with a security cover for these volunteers so that there can be a sense of financial security for them.
In reply, Minister in charge of Home Guards and Civil Defence, Comingone Ymbon said Home Guards is a voluntary organisation and the engagement of volunteers is purely on a voluntary basis. No Home Guards volunteer can claim regularisation or permanent retention of service, he added.
He said that engagement over a long period of time would not entitle the Home Guards volunteers to hold a lien on the post and neither would it confer any rights towards temporary or permanent service with the nominating or requisitioning agencies.
He further said that the department is only a nominating agency of the Home Guards volunteers engaged by various requisitioning agencies and these volunteers are governed by the rules and conditions laid down by the requisitioning agencies.
The minister added that the responsibility for payment of duty allowance/salary to such Home Guards volunteers lies with the requisitioning agencies which are the principal employer.
“All matters relating to services of those volunteers such as discontinuation of service, reinstatement, etc., rest at the full discretion of the Requisitioning Agencies that bear the pay and allowances,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma acknowledged the concerns as genuine, but said that the state government has to adhere to rules set for different categories.
“As per the minister’s reply, these are on daily wage basis, so the volunteers are paid based on their working days and it is upon the individual, if they want to work or not. That’s why it’s termed as voluntary,” said Sangma.
On the delay of the salary, he said there is no provision under the budget for that component.
“The requisition is based on need. Suggestions given by the member, we can examine the aspect but there is a procedural aspect. We try to ensure there is no delay and we try to clear things in advance,” he added.


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