Ranjit Prasad Singh, 60, a security guard at a nationalised bank branch in Jharkhand, has a request for Chowkidar Modi: Take some steps for improving the working condition of his fraternity.
I have been working as a guard for several years now. My employers — Bank of India — pay me Rs 3,800 a month to guard the bank and safeguard public money. My employers believe this money is enough to run a family of seven. The truth is far from it.
We are barely able to manage on my meagre income. Even after we put together the income from our family farm and my elder son, who works for a private firm, we just cannot make ends meet. My younger son is still studying in college and it will take some time before he becomes an earning member. Till then we have to bear the expenses of his travel and tuition. I hope the unemployment situation changes by then.
I have read how Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his colleagues in the Union cabinet have started calling themselves #MainBhiChowkidar. I want to ask them if they have any idea what a chowkidar’s life is like. Yet, at the same time, I am glad that finally my profession has come under the limelight. Would you ever come here and talk to me, or try to know how low my salary is… and what are my living conditions were it not for the publicity generated by this chowkidar campaign?
However, Modiji needs to be cautious. He might call himself a chowkidar but he should remember he is the most powerful chowkidar in the country. He should immediately take steps for the upliftment of his fellow community, if he means it. A salary raise at regular intervals (especially for public-sector banks), post-retirement pension, leave etc. can go a long way towards our upliftment.
Over the years, I have proven myself to be a good security guard. I haven’t been able to change my job because of health issues and the trust that my employers bestow on me. But that’s not enough, I need to be compensated monetarily too. ATM guards are paid more, because they are often retired defence personnel, with an arms licence. But like them, I too keep my eyes and ears open and deserve a better life. I hope chowkidar Narendra Modi takes note of our working condition and helps us out, if he returns to power.