Thiruvananthapuram: The life guards have not life insurance though they put themselves on the line to protect the public from dangers. The authorities continue to turn a blind eye towards them though almost 33 years have passed since the tourism department introduced lifeguard service for guarding and patrolling the coastal belt of Kerala.
There are nearly 180 lifeguards across the state, but the authorities have taken no effort to provide them life insurance. The neglect faced by them was brought to light when a lifeguard at Shangumugham beach went missing the other day.
"We don't have life or health insurance. We put our life at risk every time an accident happens. For the last three decades, the authorities have taken no effort to give us a permanent job or more security. If we are unable to go to work a day, we will not get any wages. Since the beaches have turned rough we are on duty almost every day. This is the first time one of us has faced such a fate," said a lifeguard.
A tourism department official said that recently the government had raised the wages of lifeguards. "A risk allowance of Rs 100 per day was allotted to them. Also the government is planning to provide them life insurance soon," said the official.The proposal to provide insurance was alive and the authorities were planning to tie up with Kerala state insurance department or other public sector insurance companies for it, he said.