Labour Day or International Workers' Day is observed each year on May 1 to celebrate the achievements of the working class.
This might be just another holiday for most of us but think about those who toil every day to meet the daily requirements to run their family. On this Labour Day, City Spidey brings to you a detailed report on the condition of security guards working in over 50 housing societies of Ghaziabad.
As per MET (Indian Meteorological Department) data, Delhi-NCR, in 2018, witnessed the coldest December and January in the last 13 years - temperature plummeted to as low as 3.4 degrees at night.
It also proved to the most harrowing winter for the night security guards. And most societies failed to provide them even with the basic facility of the heater.
“No heater has been provided to us by society management,” said 38-year-old Ramesh Singh, who has been working at Saya Zenith Apartments in Indirapuram for more than three months now, and added, “We pick dry leaves and branches from the trees nearby and light a small fire for ourselves. We had asked for heaters when the winters started but received no reply in this regard from AOA.”
The situation is no different at the neighbouring East End Apartments.
The guards at the gate covered themselves in blankets — which they themselves arranged — to keep warm. “That stops us from shivering — that’s all we can ask for at this point,” pointed out a guard on duty.
A little away at ATS Advantage, the guards at the tower thank a few residents who got them heaters. However, they claimed to receive no help from the society management. “But there is nothing for the guards doing duty at the gates. Although we spend nights in a cabin at the gates, it only provides temporary relief,” said a guard at the main gate.
Moving further towards Amrapali Village, guards were seen warming themselves with coal.
“Although the worst of winter is gone, even if we get heaters now, we will be able to spend the nights more comfortably. Also, it would do good for the guards in the next season,” said a 19-year-old guard Vikas Yadav.
The security agency is run by Sharat Jha, president of Consortium of Societies, Ghaziabad. He has failed to provide heaters to guards at his own society, Rajhans Residency.
While talking to guards, it was found that many societies tend to impose hefty fines on guards if they are found lighting fire or even dozing off.
At Ashiana Upvan, guards claimed that society management has prohibited lighting of the fire, but somehow they manage to do it on bitter winter nights. “We won’t survive this winter otherwise,” a guard said.
But there are problems with lighting a fire. “Our jackets get frequently dirty with the fumes. We have to wash them thrice a week. As the security agency has not provided us any spare jacket, we are forced to come to duty in a different jacket. If this happens more than once, it attracts a fine because society has allowed us to wear the civil dress only once a week,” a guard said.
The fine, ridiculously, could be anywhere between Rs 5,000-10,000! That’s their entire salary!
City Spidey found one exception though — Arihant Harmony of Ahinsa Khand II. In the guards’ room, an electric heater had warmed to an orange hue, as a few guards sat huddled around it. The heater, guards claimed, had been provided by the society management.
Arihant Harmony is the residential address of Alok Kumar, president of Indirapuram-based Federation of Apartments Owners Association, or FedAOA. Kumar said that every winter, AOA of the society distributed blankets and ensured a room heater in the guards’ room.
When City Spidey spoke about the ground conditions, Kumar could only nod his head in disappointment. “People should extend at least the basic courtesy towards their guards. They want 24-hour security but ignore the basic amenities. Same people would make a hue and cry if not provided facilities at their workplace,” lashed out Kumar.