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‘No time for meal break’

I have been into this profession for the last five years. I am originally from Punjab. Initially, I got Rs 8,000 for 12-hour duty. Now, recently, I have started getting Rs 10,000 for the same.

I used to work in a cinema hall, and then a bank. There, I had to stand the whole time – for 8-10 hours. It was really tough and immensely tiring. Also, it was too chaotic, I could not even take a meal break there. But here, in an apartment, you can be seated while keeping watch and that is much better than my previous jobs. But here, the salary is too low. What can one do with Rs 8,000 in today’s world?

Nachatar, 50, works as a security guard in New Delhi

As told to Shruti Das

A thankless job

I have been working as a professional security guard for nine years. I have done shifts of various durations – 8-hour, 10-hour and 12-hour. Now, currently, I am working in this guest house – where I am on 12-hour duty and for this, I get only Rs 12,000 per month.

Before this, I have mostly worked in Union Bank of India ATM and Kashmere Gate metro stations. Then, I also worked in a showroom at Chandni Chowk. Everywhere,  the working hours were too long, and every job had its own demands.

Once, I was working in Ghaziabad where I had to incur a lot of travel expenses – for going from home to the workplace every day. Our conveyance expenses are not covered by the company. Same goes with food – be it tea or snacks. We have to bring our own food.

Today, I will have a 24-hour duty because the guard who is supposed to relieve me is on leave. So, I will stay the whole day and the next day till evening as well. This gets tiring, but have no option since I might have to take a day off and that person might have to cover for me.

Also, we have no such thing as ‘work experience’ in this field. Even if you are working for decades, you will be only paid according to the hours you put in. This is not fair. Then, if someone quits one job, getting another in the security department is quite tough. One might have to wait for a long time before landing another job. Only if you have contacts will it be easy for you.

Ikramuddin, 61, works as a security guard in Delhi

As told to Shruti Das

Risky task at hand

I joined this profession in 2004. The biggest problem I have faced till now is that of robbery. In apartments, especially in a city like Delhi, thefts are common. We are the ones who have to face a lot of trouble.

Firstly, when thefts happen – if we are unable to catch them, we are often blamed by the management. Sometimes, they might end up thinking we have assisted the thieves to get in. And when we catch the thief, we get into fights.

Many a times, I have got injured also while trying to get hold of them. Then, they also are beaten up – but if something happens to them in this process, then again, we are to be blamed. So, it is quite risky — especially when you are on night duty. And all my life, till now, I have only been on night duty. At the place where I work now, snatching is common. This, again, is risky. Also, the salary we get is inadequate but we are helpless. Better to do any kind of job than staying at home and earning nothing, after all.

Munna, 45, works as a security guard in Delhi

As told to Shruti Das

‘Salary too less to survive’

For eight years, I have been working as a security professional. My biggest issue is that we do not get any weekly offs. We have to work all 365 days, throughout the year. Every company at least gives 10 days off a year, but we do not get any. If some security guard intends to take leave, the day’s salary will be deducted. We should be getting around Rs 14,000 for eight hours, as per rule. And for 12 hours, it should be around Rs 22,000. But here in Delhi, we get around Rs 12,000 for 12 hours – which is not justifiable from any angle. It is too little and does not fulfil our needs.

Ravi Jha works as a security professional in Delhi

As told to Shruti Das