Bantala: Nearly 300 watchers, who guard the Satkosia sanctuary round-the-clock, Wednesday lodged a complaint with Pampasar range officer alleging they have not got their remuneration for the past two months.
Learning about the incident, Assistant Chief Conservator of forest Shuvendu Behera reached the range office and promised to release their salaries before Dussehra festival.
Satkosia Wild Forest Division comprises five ranges – Pampasar, Rauguda, Purunakote, Tikarpada, Jillinda.
More than 300 watchers have been engaged in the sanctuary to protect the wildlife from poachers, forest from timber mafia and wildfire and for overall guarding. Though they have been engaged through an agency, the forest department releases their payment. They get Rs 5,000 a month excluding other allowances like EPF, medical.
The watchers said they don’t get their salaries in time but were also ignorant of the deductions made. Even as they contribute for health insurance, they don’t get any healthcare facilities in case of critical injuries.
The condition of the watchers is so miserable that they often have to mortgage gold to run the family, said one of the complainants.
When contacted, divisional forest officer SMDT Rahman said the salary bill has been sent to the department and payment would be released soon, he added.