Pradeep Pattanayak

The Opposition BJP and Congress on Sunday cornered the BJD-led government for going to the Supreme Court on the per day salary of Home Guard working in the State Police department. 

The Supreme Court on March 17 directed the Odisha government to pay per day salary of Rs 533 to each of the Home Guard from June 1, 2018. The government has also been directed to pay the arrears within three months. 

Notably, the Supreme Court in 2015 and the Union Home Ministry in 2016 had written to all States to hike the salaries of Home Guards. In 2016, then DGP had also recommended the Odisha government to give per day salary of Rs 533 to each Home Guard. But the state government didn’t implement it, citing Home Guard’s salary would become more than contractual constable’s salary as the reason. 

Because of this, the Home Guards had intensified the strike. 

The Opposition leaders launched a scathing attack on the state government for it dillydallying in implementing the DGP’s recommendations. 

“There was no need of going to the Supreme Court at all. When the DG of their (BJD) government recommended the minimum salary should be this much, there was no need move the apex court,” said Leader of Opposition (LoP) Jayanarayan Mishra. 

Senior Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “The state government had gone to the double bench over the salary of Home Guard where they lost the battle. Thereafter, there was no need of going to the Supreme Court. The state government should have immediately fulfilled the demands of the Home Guards.”

Going to defend his government, BJD MLA Raj Kishore Das said, “The job of the Opposition parties is to oppose. But they should understand that the Home Guard’s job was voluntary in nature. However, I welcome the direction.”

“The Supreme Court has directed the state government to pay the arrears in three months. If the government fails to do so, we will lodge a contempt file in the apex court against the state government,” said Prakash Jena, an appellant.

After the Supreme Court’s direction, the Home Guards are an exalted lot. A total of 17,775 Home Guards are presently working in the state.