YB WEB DESK. Dated: 2/15/2020 10:57:30 AM

Jammu, Feb 14 Peeved over the failure of the government to pay the honorarium to the members of the VDCs across Jammu region for the past several years, a strong contingent of Panther activists led by Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP and other leaders staged a thunderous protest demonstration at Exhibition Ground in Jammu today. While raising slogans against the BJP, the infuriated protesters accused the Saffron Party of treating the VDC members as ‘throwaways’ after being used in its political campaigns. Addressing the media, Harsh Dev Singh pointed out that with an aim to contain the activities of militants in rural areas and to ensure security and safety of the identified villages, the Village Defence Committees (VDCs) in Jammu region had been constituted in the mountainous and remote hamlets since 1996. When the militancy in J&K was at its peak and authorities were unable to protect the lives in far-off villages, several people, especially the youth took the initiative and enrolled themselves as VDC members to safeguard their community from militant attacks, Harsh divulged. Revealing statistics, he said there were 4248 VDCs functioning in 10 districts of Jammu region with almost 25000 people working as members. “There are normally eight members including three SPOs in each VDC with an internal arrangement that the honorarium paid to the SPOs has to be equally distributed among all the members of the committee. When the revised honorarium started to get transferred into the accounts of SPOs directly instead of cash, the other members were deprived of their wages. This is the flaw in the system which has marginalized the members of the VDCs despite their sincere continuance with the duty to protect their people from the brunt of terror attacks”, regretted Harsh. He said while SPOs deserved adequate salary as well as regularization policy in view of 24 hours duty, the arrears of VDCs need to be cleared without any further delay.


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