VIJAYAWADA: Hundreds of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers took to streets on the International Women’s Day, Thursday, as part of ‘chalo Vijayawada’, demanding that the State government gave them a minimum wage of `6,000 per month and other social security benefits.
Earlier, the ASHA workers, under the aegis of AP Asha Workers Union, affiliated to CITU, took out a rally from the Railway Station to Dharna Chowk and staged an agitation by squatting on the road, braving the heat of the mid-day sun, near Alankar centre. The agitation, which continued for about three hours, blocked traffic flow through the Sambamurthy Road.
Police had deployed additional forces in large number to prevent any untoward incident from taking place at the dharna camp.
While addressing the gathering of ASHA workers, general secretary of AP Asha Workers Union, K Dhanalakshmi, came down heavily on CM Naidu and accused him of duping the ASHA workers by not providing minimum facilities, including their uniforms, at the health centres.
She reminded the authorities that these health workers were also attending to patients, in far-flung areas and were being paid a meagre honorarium of `1600 per month.
“Even this meagre amount is not paid for months altogether,” she said. She said that while the Kerala government was paying `7,500 per month and the Telangana government was paying `6,000 per month to the ASHA workers, the Andhra Pradesh government was ignoring their rightful demand by citing “filthy reasons”.
According to an eyewitness, couple of agitators fainted as they squatted under the sun and the police shifted them to nearby hospitals.