by Ayushi Nagalia
All colonies, societies and even individual houses hire night and day guards keeping in mind the safety of all their residents. Usually, two guards are appointed, one works during the day and the other works during the night. However, it is not unusual to not hear guard whistles at night and yet think that you and your neighborhood are being well guarded. After close examination of the areas nearby Railway station, Dehradun i.e. Dhamawaala, GeetaBhawan, Moti Bazar and Raja Road and Laxmi Colony, it has come to notice that mostly these night guards are a joke to the security system and the trust of the residents. My house is situated at Raja road and for over three weeks I analyzed the regularity of the night guard, Motilal Singh’s rounds around the area. For the first week of the month, I saw him starting his duty, walking around the area at 8pm. For three hours, he would walk around looking out for the residents taking short breaks once in a while. Around 11pm, he would start making his presence known by blowing his whistle and hitting his stick loudly on the road.
He would do this for the rest of his duty, again, taking short breaks once in a while. However, as the days of the month flew by, the frequency of these rounds fell drastically. Every day at about 9:30pm, I take my dog for a walk and I could no longer see him walking around. Instead, he sits at the side of the road smoking a ‘bidi’ looking completely oblivious to his surroundings. He does however walk around blowing his whistle for the most part of the night. But with time even this activity stopped and after few days, I hear him only between 12am – 1am. Because, as the whole neighborhood falls asleep, apparently, so does he.
One day I decided to discuss the matter with the guard himself. I asked him things like the exact timings of his duty and the duties included in his job. Taken aback at once, that a girl is asking him questions he was never asked before, the sickly, old looking fellow refused to answer me, but on urging him a bit, he told me that he is supposed to reach the area by 8pm and the day guard is not supposed to leave until he shows up and similarly, he is not supposed to leave at 8am until the day guard shows up. Also, he is supposed to stay up all night and drive any suspicious looking people away and make sure that nothing unusual happens during his duty in the colony. I questioned him about a robbery that happened not long ago in the neighborhood; and just as I expected, he was not even aware of the incident. They are such guards who are defaming the whole security system and making huge security companies a laughing stalk. A regular check should be kept on these guards to make sure that they fulfill their duties and don’t just give us a false sense of security. We require safety and not half-drunk people blowing whistles or screaming “All is Well” at night.
The huge question that arises here is that, when and how will we get our money’s worth security with authorities and companies appointing such irresponsible guards?