The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday terminated the services of 25,000 home guards in the state police as it could not afford to pay them the allowances ordered by the Supreme Court, PTI reported.

“The decision not to deploy 25,000 home guards was taken on August 28 this year in a meeting chaired by the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary,” an order issued by Additional Director General BP Jogdand said.

Home guards do not have a fixed salary and are paid based on the number of days they work. They used to work for around 25 days a month, but the state government has now brought it down to 15. This could lead to the loss of regular employment for more than 99,000 home guards, according to IANS. It is also expected to lead to traffic management problems in the state as most home guards are recruited in the traffic police department.

The home guards earlier got Rs 500 as daily allowance. It was increased to Rs 672 on the Supreme Court’s orders.

“After the Supreme Court order, the police department would have had to bear the extra burden of Rs 10 crore to Rs 12 crore per month,” Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh said. “This decision of not giving postings is a temporary one, and if and when required they will be called for duty.”

However, Home Guard Minister Chetan Chauhan said no official letter had been received from the Home Department regarding the matter and claimed that no one would be removed from their jobs, ANI reported.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati criticised the Uttar Pradesh government.

“The BJP government has decided to fire 25,000 home guards just ahead of Diwali,” Gandhi said in a tweet. “The law and order situation in the state has gone from bad to worse. At this time, when more security hands are needed, don’t know what is on the mind of BJP government which is taking such decisions.”

Mayawati asked why the Uttar Pradesh government was punishing 25,000 home guards and their families due to wrong financial policies. “This will cause anarchy in the state,” she wrote on Twitter. “Why is the government increasing unemployment instead of giving employment? It will be better if the government pays more attention towards public welfare.”