Big burly men dressed in black shoving away people with menacing looks may be a normal sight at the entrance of a discotheque on Saturday evening but an unusual one at a government office on a weekday, right?
Well, this is exactly what’s happening at the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) office in Khairatabad these days. The board has hired the services of eight bouncers to tighten security at the office and cope with union trouble and protests from aggrieved residents.
“We had security guards who were of average built, but they were of no use in stopping any nuisance on the office premises,” said B Yellesha, general manager, HMWSSB. “They were pushed and shoved and could not even retaliate. The 16 unions in the water board, who come up with some issue or the other, disturb the office’s functioning. We decided to hire the services of these bouncers since the mischief-mongers dare not mess with them [after] looking at their build.”
Not just union members, even city residents regularly complain about the irregular supply of water in their areas, with some groups threatening water board officials with dire consequences.
Working in two shifts, the bouncers hired a few weeks ago are stationed at the entrance as well as inside the building. They are an intimidating sight. “For a second I thought I had entered a gym or a wrestling arena,” said P Krishna, a visitor to the office. “Where on earth can you find such bodybuilders in government office? I do not think the water board officials face life threats that they hired these people. But at the same time there are many who seem to be admiring their body.”
The bouncers are being paid between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 for round-the-clock-vigil.
They have been specifically advised to protect managing director J Shyamala Rao, and also see to it that nobody messes with the higher officials.
“We can handle any situation and if anybody comes near the managing director, we will thrash them and throw them away,” a bouncer proudly said.
“From the time we have come, the office has been functioning smoothly since people are scared to try anything mischievous after seeing us,” said another bouncer.
But women employees do not seem to have taken too kindly to the ‘beefy wonders’. “It is inconvenient and awkward having them around,” said an employee who refused to give her name, fearing departmental action. “Their presence scares us. Given a choice, we would have preferred not to having them here. This is not a place where brawls break out and they have to be hired.”