STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Village Defence Committees (VDCs), which serve as ‘security arch’ to defend remote and hilly villages against terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday held a protest here demanding release of pending salaries. Members of the VCDs alleged that they have not been paid salaries for the past over eight months. The members, who had come from different parts of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Reasi, Poonch and Rajouri districts, took out a rally here to protest against the pending salaries. They were raising slogans and calling for intervention of Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu and advisor Farooq Khan into the issue. “VDCs are not getting salaries for the past several months. It has forced us to come here and hold protest,” Shant Sharma of Thatri, Doda, told reporters. “There are five members in a VDC and two of its members, which are called SPOs, are getting wages at the rate of Rs 18,000 per month, but the VDC component of VDCs is not being given any salary,” he said. “We demand immediate grant of our salaries, which have not been released to us for the past several months. While wages of SPOs have been increased to Rs 18,000 from Rs 5,000, the wages of VDC members have been withheld,” another VDC member Dyan Chand said. As many as 4,125 VDCs exist in J and K and their work is to ensure safety and security of the identified villages along the borders as well as in interior areas and infrastructural installations in and around them. The VDCs were set up in the mid-1990s with an aim to strengthen the security of those living in remote and mountainous areas of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramba, Rajouri, Reasi, Kathua and Poonch districts.
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