Mangaluru, Dec 21, 2016: Members of the Dakshina Kannada District Anganwadi Workers and Assistants’ Association staged a mammoth protest in front of the zilla panchayat urging the fulfilment of their various demands on Dec 20,Tuesday.
Addressing the protesters, association president Vishalakshi blamed the government for not bothering about the welfare of the anganwadi workers who were finding it hard to manage with paltry wages. "The anganwadi workers play an important role in ensuring that all the welfare programmes of the government reached the beneficiaries. While we are paid meagre wages," she said.
The protesters demanded equal wages for equal work and effective implementation of the Supreme Court guidelines on the same. The honorarium should be increased based on the experience of anganwadi workers and assistants. Presently, a newly appointed anganwadi worker and a helper received the same honorarium as that of a worker or a helper with 20-year-experience.
"In spite of serving for more than 24 years, my honorarium has not increased. The monthly honorarium of the anganwadi workers were withheld last year for taking part in an agitation and has not been released to this day," said a worker.
The protesters also demanded medical leave for anganwadi workers and also urged the government to bear the expenses of the power bills of the anganwadi centres. "The monthly electricity bill of our anganwadi has reached Rs 1,800. We do not have budgetary allocation for the payment of electricity bills. Many a time we have paid from our pockets, said one of the protesters.
The daily allowance for the anganwadi workers and helpers should be hiked and the allowance should be extended to all anganwadi workers working in towns and cities.
The agitating workers also urged the state government to withdraw an order extending the working hours of anganwadi workers and fulfil other pending demands immediately.
Anganwadi workers, who go on a door-to-door visit to suggest proper care of pregnant women, babies and children suffering from malnutrition, are already working even after the stipulated working hours. Therefore, the state government should revoke the order, enabling them to work efficiently in the previous working hours.
They also urged the government to rectify the allocated rates for LPG cylinder as transportation costs are not inclusive and often the hapless staff had to pay from their own pockets. .