Scores of civil defence volunteers (CDVs) gathered outside the Delhi BJP office to meet BJP President Varinder Sachdeva. The CDVs, formerly employed as bus marshals, arrived in the national capital over the demands for reinstatement of their services.

According to CDVs, Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva promised them that he would meet the Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena over their demands and seek actions to reinstate them.

“All parties were playing the blame-game… both BJP, L-G, and Aam Aadmi Party have been accusing each other. But AAP has cleared its stand; now it’s on BJP and L-G,” a former bus marshal said.

“We only have 8 to 10 days before the model code of conduct will be implemented. We are only waiting for LG’s signature, which will give us our jobs back,” another protesting CDV said.

Around 10,000 civil defence volunteers and bus marshals lost their jobs in 2023. At the time, despite approving a proposal for their deployment, L-G Saxena had pointed out issues with the CDVs not getting their salary for nearly seven months.

The termination of their services came into effect in November last year after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s proposal to terminate the services of all civil defence volunteers was accepted by the Lieutenant Governor. However, the AAP government recently tabled a proposal seeking its revival.

Kejriwal, on February 29, demanded the reappointment of 10,000 volunteers. In the assembly, he went on to claim that Delhi L-G had questioned the deployment of bus marshals, saying there were CCTV cameras, panic buttons,

After agitation over due salaries and lost jobs last year, and with the Vidhan Sabha having also passed the proposal, the CDVs are awaiting Delhi Lieutenant Governor’s nod.

According to the AAP-led government, the Bus Marshal Scheme (BMS) was initiated in 2015 to enhance the safety and security of women and children on buses in Delhi. However, as the Delhi government lacks control over the police, it can only implement measures in areas not covered by the Centre, the AAP contended.

During a recent discussion in Delhi Assembly, AAP’s Atishi highlighted the “invaluable contributions of these volunteers”, emphasising their crucial role in ensuring the safety and security of women on buses over the past nine years. On the other hand, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, Leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly, accused the Kejriwal government of incompetence and neglecting the CDV jobs issue and their demands.

Published By:

Srishti Jha

Published On:

Mar 3, 2024

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