Anganwadi workers protest, demand wages

Anganwadi workers and helpers staging protest demonstration in Jammu on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Anganwadi workers and helpers staging protest demonstration in Jammu on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Dec 23: Anganwadi workers and helpers of the ICDS Projects under J&K Social Welfare Department today held strong protest demonstration here demanding enhancement of their wages and release of pay.
A large number of workers and helpers from scores of Anganwadi Centres across Jammu and Samba districts today assembled under the banner of Anganwadi Workers Welfare Association (Jammu Province), affiliated to Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, at Press Club Jammu and held strong protest demonstration. The protesting workers, mostly women, were shouting slogans against Government and demanding wages at the rate of Rs 18,000 per month for the Anganwadi workers and Rs 14000 for the helpers.
Several Trade Union leaders, including Pawan Kumar (BMS), Neelam Sharma and Roshu Sharma (AWWA) addressed the gathering and criticized the Government for sheer exploitation of this section of employees in Jammu and Kashmir. They alleged that LG’s Administration has totally ignored the demands and genuine issues of the ICDS workers.
Referring to the just `peanut wages’ being paid to the workers in J&K, they said that Govt is releasing just Rs 600 as state share in their favour while in Harayana they are paid Rs 7300 as state share, totaling Rs 11800 as wages. Delhi Govt is providing Rs 5500 as state share, totaling Rs 10,000 per month while Punjab is paying Rs 4000 as state share to these workers. There is no hike in wages in J&K since long, despite repeated representations to the higher authorities and protests by the workers, they added.
The Trade Union leaders further alleged that Anganwadi workers and helpers are without wages/ salaries for the last four months. Their arrears from October 2018 to December 2018 and three months salary from January 2019 to March 2019 has also remained unpaid. The higher authorities have also not paid the carriage charges for the years 2020 and 2021 till date. They alleged that block and district level officers were avoiding to give proper reply for the nonpayment of pending arrears and salaries of 2018 and 2019. They suspected embezzlement and demanded high level inquiry into the matter.
They said that during Covid, the Anganwadi workers conducted surveys and other jobs assigned by the Government as front line workers but they were not provided any kind of benefit. They further demanded pensionery, retirement benefits and social security in their favour. They strongly demanded Rs 18,000 per month as wages in favour fo Anganwadi workers.