No wages for marshals at Indira Canteens

Ex-servicemen are paid Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 a month to guard Indira Canteens. DH FILE PHOTO

The BBMP seems to be biting the hands that protect its Indira Canteens. 

More than 450 marshals posted at the subsidised eateries in Bengaluru have not received their wages for months. The BBMP has a convenient excuse: the state government hasn't released the funds. 

The marshals, mostly ex-servicemen and a few NCC cadets, were posted at Indira Canteens to provide security. While ex-servicemen are paid between Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 a month, NCC cadets get around Rs 17,000. Although the BBMP claims the marshals are not permanent employees, the latter say Rs 5,000 is deducted as PF and ESI from their salary each month. 

Meet Cyriac Mathew, an ex-serviceman guarding the Indira Canteen in Madiwala. He said he hadn't been paid since March. "Each time we asked the BBMP, we were told about the shortage of funds," he said. "We just don't know when will the money come." 

Somanath N, another marshal, said some of them hadn't received their wages since March while others had been waiting since February. Some marshals were promised the wages, including the arrears, by the end of May. 

Col Rajbeer Singh, president, Karnataka Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association, said many marshals wanted to quit. "I am counselling them against doing so. All these ex-servicemen have family commitments, especially the education of their children. The delay in the wages is making matters worse for them," he added. 

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said he was not aware of the matter but promised to look into it. "Paying the wages is the responsibility of the contractors. If there is a problem, whether from the BBMP or from the contractor, we will look into it. There is no shortage of funds. The government has granted Rs 150 crore for this financial year," he added.

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