BANGALORE: Demanding basic monthly pay, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) have launched an agitation from Tuesday. As many as 2,000 workers have camped at Freedom Park demanding that the state government should pay a monthly salary.
Speaking to Express, S Varalakshmi, president, ASHA Workers’ Union, said, they deserve better pay and respect. They have been exploited and given very little in return for their work. The condition is no less than slavery as many do not get even the `600 a month on time, she claimed.
“The workers are the link between health system and public and if these people do not explain the schemes to pregnant women, bring children to clinics to vaccinate, reach people suffering from initial stage of tuberculosis, the health system will collapse. Hence, we urge the government to consider these 30,000 workers as regular salaried class employees,” said Varalakshmi.
She also pointed out that the state government has allocated `25.6 crore for ASHA workers, of which `10 crore has been released for payments. “The government should give `36 crore for this purpose,” said Varalakshmi.
The ASHA workers were recruited after the Union government launched National Rural Health Mission scheme. The order was passed in 2005 and in Karnataka, the workers were incorporated from 2008 onwards. The workers say that they get paid `450 a month as incentive.
Health Director Geetha Nyamagouder appealed to the workers to call off the strike as it will impact the system.