Won’t be duped by Karnataka CM’s assurances: Anganwadi workers
The anganwadi helpers and workers are demanding a Rs 4,000 pay hike, which was not met by the State during the 2017 budget announcement.
BENGALURU: A quick effort by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to convince anganwadi workers to take back their strike, failed after the protesting women refused to accept his assurances.
At least 10,000 anganwadi workers from different parts of the state have been protesting from Monday morning at Freedom Park. The women, who in some cases had come with their children slept on the roads around Freedom Park and staged an overnight protest.
Siddaramaiah scheduled a meeting around Tuesday noon, attended by Minister for Women and Child Development Umashree and others. Siddaramaiah assured the anganwadi representatives of a meeting on April 19. S Varalakshmi, state president, Karnataka Rajya Anganwadi Noukarara Sangha, who attended the meeting took a poll among the protesting women at Freedom Park on Tuesday afternoon in full media glare.
The workers refused to call off the strike, saying they have been duped twice by the assurances of the CM and they would not do it again. More women are expected to join the protests on Wednesday.
Varalakshmi told Express, “I attended the meeting and was told that the government is bound by the model code of conduct as the by-elections are due in two taluks. I took a poll among our members sitting here. Nobody wants to call off the strike. They are willing to sit here even on Ugadi till their demands are met.”
The matter was also taken up in the Assembly which is in session, with opposition leaders H D Kumaraswamy and Jagadish Shettar arguing that the workers’ demands be met. The anganwadi helpers and workers are demanding a Rs 4,000 pay hike as their demand was not met by the state during this year’s budget announcement.
Currently, Anganwadi workers are paid Rs 6,000 and helpers are paid Rs 3,000. In the recent budget, CM Siddaramaiah announced a hike of Rs 1,000 for anganwadi workers and Rs 500 for helpers.
Sunanda H S, General Secretary, Karnataka State Anganwadi Noukarara Sangha, told Express, “The state government argues that the centre’s share in our payment is only Rs 1,500 of the Rs 7,000 it has sanctioned for us. When other state governments like Kerala and Telangana can give Rs 10,000 salary, why can’t our state do it? In fact Punjab gives Rs 14,000 a month while Tamil Nadu government gives a bonus too.”
“In Hosakote, 40 women who were trying to get to the protest site have been arrested. They are also not letting them get train tickets. Despite this, you will find thrice the number of women here on Wednesday. There are no public toilets here or drinking water.
There’s only one at the end of Seshadri Road but on Monday night they switched off the lights. All night the women kept walking the streets,” Sunanda said. Six women from the protest have been hospitalised for dehydration and ill health.