Tezpur, September 25: Assam is a disaster-prone state where, every year, hundreds of thousands suffer. Many of us here would have closely experienced it. What is even more unfortunate is the fact that we end up helpless. We either find ourselves complaining or wishing if something could have been done when it was time.
This time, it is not for a thousand people or a state level disaster. It is for 130 people who have always been around Tezpur University, day and night, guarding the campus and people living within the university premises.
As many students of the university already know by now that the contract of the North East Security Service Pvt Ltd. (NESS) is getting over by the end of this month and a total of 130 people would be losing their jobs. Most of them are locals and around 30 of them are women.
A couple of days ago, a news broke that the contract with the NESS is not going to get renewed and after the 30th of this month, all the guards employed under NESS are going to be jobless.
After talking to a some of the guards, both men and women, we came to know that the problem arose after the 7th Pay Commission was imposed by the university and the salary of the guards was hiked; earlier they were paid around 7-8 thousand and after the hike, they were supposed to be making around 10-11 thousand per month. However, they were paid the hiked salary only once, two months ago. Since then, they have not received their salary. The university, allegedly, is short of funds.
When asked, most of the guards did not even know the reason behind them getting fired; many have not even seen the notice. According to sources, the security guards shall be replaced by Home Guards from the next month. NESS had allegedly asked for wages higher than that of Home Guards.
The Assistant Registrar informed and agreed that it was wrong on the part of NESS to have not informed all the guards beforehand, though they knew about the decision. However, the contract with the NESS cannot be renewed now. The women security guards can retain their jobs for another two months. The condition is that they would be paid the menials’ salary i.e. half of what they are being paid now.
Home guards will be guarding the university for the next six months, before another agency gets the contract.
Photo courtesy: Deepak Kumar