BENGALURU: Around 100 ASHA workers staged a protest on the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike premises on Monday, highlighting untimely payment of wages, dues pending for a few months and allotment of undesignated tasks. They also demanded an increase in fixed wages from Rs 4,000 to Rs 9,000 per month.
“Apart from working as frontline warriors amid the Covid-19 pandemic, ASHAs conduct innumerable surveys on a day-to-day basis, look after antenatal and post-natal care, take care of the wellbeing of mother and children, and work for Covid-19 vaccination drives,” said Rama T C, state vice president, All
India United Trade Union Centre, to which Karnataka Rajya ASHA Karyakartha Sangha is affiliated.
Their wages are not being paid on the pretext that their bank accounts are not linked to Aadhaar, said Durgesh Prakash, Karnataka state executive committee member, AIUTUC. Although one BBMP ASHA worker is assigned to a population of 2,500 in the city, some are made to cover more than that in Bengaluru, he said.
“They are forcefully assigned tasks for which there is no order copy. They are made to spend on mobile data themselves for e-surveys and their low wages cannot sustain them, given the rise in cost of living in the capital. We also demanded free bus passes for them,” Durgesh said. The ASHA workers are compelled to conduct non-communicable diseases (NCD), E-Sameekshe and Quarantine app surveys, the union added.
BBMP Special Commissioner (Health) Thrilok Chandra met the protesters and assured them of having a meeting to discuss the demands.