JAMMU, APR 23:
More than 3,000 anganwadi workers, who have been on a strike for nearly three months in support of their demands which include release of their salaries and a hike in honorarium, today marched through the Jammu city.
Under the banner of Anganwadi Workers And Helpers Association, they shouted slogans against the Jammu and Kashmir government and ruling alliance partners BJP and PDP.
Led by their president Suman Suri, the workers began the march at Jammu Press Club and concluded at Dogra chowk. Later, they sat on a ‘dharna’ at the chowk, one of the busiest road inter-sections in the city, throwing the traffic out of gear.
Police officials were persuading the workers to end their protest.
“We held a rally today and sat on a dharna in support of ourdemands. We want Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who will hold a cabinet meeting tomorrow, to approve our demands,” Suri told reporters.
She warned their protest would intensify if the demands were not met. Due to the 83-day-old strike of the workers, close to 30,000 angawadi centres are shut in the region.
Besides demanding a hike in honorarium and release of their salaries, the association is seeking seniority list, implementation of the pension scheme and gratuity of Rs 2 lakh for workers and Rs 1 lakh for helpers on their retirement.
“We are getting a meagre Rs 3,600 and Rs 1,800 for workers and helpers respectively, while our counterparts in other states, including Delhi, are getting Rs 10,000 and Rs 6,000 for the same work,” Suri said.
“We are disappointed with this government as we were hopeful Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who herself is a woman, can understand the problems faced by the workers and come out with a solution,” she said.
There are about 28,000 anganwadi workers and helpers in the state.