NDS guards cry foul over non-payment of salary

Civic body shoots down allegations, accuses men from Nuisance Detection Squad of dereliction of duty, pocketing fines they collect

More than 70 guards of the Nuisance Detection Squad (NDS), comprising mainly of ex-military men and set 
up by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) about 12 years ago, have alleged that the civic body has not paid their wages the past two months. 

Nuisance detection: A man spits on a public street. NDS guards are 
responsible for collecting fines from such people. file pic

The squad, which collects fine from people for littering, spitting and dirtying any public place in the city, has alleged that its men have been devoid of other benefits also. The guards, who are mainly between the age group of 35 and 45, claimed that the civic body also has not been issuing them receipt books through which fines are to be collected for the past three months, making their task more difficult. 

Paltry remuneration
Each guard employed by their respective ward office is paid around Rs 6,000 per month. "A security guard working in the PMC gets somewhere about Rs 15,000 per month and we get less than Rs 7,000 and despite that we perform our duties diligently. We have families to take care of," said a guard requesting anonymity.

In all, there are 14 wards and four zones in the city. Around 17 guards are stationed in each zone where, according to the official figures, a guard collects somewhere between Rs 3,000 and 70,000 per month from violators. Around Rs 16 lakh is collected from each ward every month.

Suresh Jagtap, head of the solid waste management cell, said, "There have been complaints from citizens saying that these guards don't hand over receipts, while imposing fine on them and instead pocket the money. We are conducting an inquiry into this."

Refuting the claims made by the squad, Santosh Pawar, Chief Security Officer, PMC, said that the guards were unable to submit their six months work contract agreement, which was mandatory under the PMC Act 49. "Besides that, these workers have been negligent while performing their duties. 

They reach office late and despite being issued orders from their area ward officers don't go on the field. Also, nobody can take the responsibility of getting their audit cleared without proper documentation. The matter has even reached the session's court, which has ordered them to submit their proof of validity. But they are just ignoring it," Pawar said.He added that that only 10 out of 70 guards have submitted their agreement papers so far.

Fact file
The state government had decided to set up the NDS to keep the city clean by charging offenders, which after much deliberation was put into practice in 2000. NDS guards are made to stand in public places where they have to look for citizens who litter or spit and charge them accordingly. The fine varies from Rs 50 to Rs 3,000 for various acts of dirtying the streets. 

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