JAMMU, July 11: While strongly opposing the decision of the State Administration under Governor Satya Pal Malik to release wages of Anganwadi workers and helpers after obtaining certificate from concerned Sarpanch and Councillors every month, All J&K Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union president Suman Suri has alleged that this wrong and unjustified decision of Governor’s Administration would further increase exploitation of the women workers in ICDS wing of Social Welfare Department.
Addressing a press conference here today, Union president Suri threatened a state wide agitation and said that that women workers of over 25000 Anganwadi Centres in the State would come out on the roads as this decision seems to have taken in haste without applying mind. She said Social Welfare Department has already devised good mechanism to monitor work in the Anganwadi Centres by appointing supervisors and moreover, visit of the Panchayat members to the centres is routine affair. And now, paying wages to them after obtaining certificate from the Sarpanches would only add to the further exploitation of the women workers.
The Union leader also referred to a latest incident of Dharamsal area in Rajouri where an Anganwadi worker, facing exploitation at the hands of a Sarpanch since long, was forced to lodge FIR against him and he was finally arrested by police. She said already Anganwadi workers and helpers get their wages after 6-7 months and not regularly after every month, and this system of certificate would encourage corruption and increase exploitation of ladies as 100 % workers in the ICDS Centres are women. Moreover, Government does not consider them as Government employees. They have not even brought under Minimum Wages Act. The workers and helpers are still unpaid for the last four months.
The Union members from various districts of Jammu province made strong appeal to the Governor’s Administration to review this unjustified and unfair decision, otherwise, over 50,000 women workers and helpers of over 25,000 ICDS Centres across J&K would come out on the roads. They said that despite loud announcement of hike in the wage of Anganwadi workers and helpers, no formal orders in this regard have been issued by Governor’s Administration.
Suri was accompanied by general secretary, Nirmal Sharma, Rama Kumari, Anju Kumari and others.
Meanwhile, working committee of ICDS workers today decided to call general council meeting of AMMs, AWHs and others drawn from all ICDS blocks across the region to decided next course of action.