BENGALURU: Mid-day meal workers are stuck in a vicious circle. They can neither leave their job, nor continue with it comfortably. The present honorarium that the government is giving does not help them even to take care of their family. Often they have to wait for months to get their salaries as well. The New Indian Express spoke to several workers who said that with their salaries, they are unable to feed their family members three square meals a day.
The cooks are paid `2,200 and the assistants `2,100 each every month for working for around 6 hours a day in schools. Chandramma (46), who works in a government school in Tarikere, says she is working since 2002 but gets her honorarium money only once in several months. “I go to school daily by 9am and my work finishes only by 3pm after washing all the vessels.”
“I left the areca nut peeling work and joined this thinking I would get a ‘D’ group job and good money in future. But now, I regret my decision,” says Chandramma, who is the mother of three children.
Sulekha (40), mid-day worker at Pandaragere government school in Bidar district, is in Bengaluru for the past three days to take part in the protest. “I have two children who are studying. With the paltry salary, I am not able to lead my family life well,” she says.
Mumtaz Begum Harkoli (43) of Balehalli post of Hangal taluk in Haveri district said that she worked as tailor earlier.
“My husband forced me to join work so that the kids will get food. Now, feeding my family has become a challenge.”