SRINAGAR, July 16: Accusing the Government for utterly neglecting ASHA workers, who essentially act as backbone of the health structure in rural areas of the State, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, State president of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), today demanded a dignified monthly honorarium for them.
“Government has totally neglected the women working as ASHAs, although it had started the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) with much fanfare,” Tarigami said while addressing a day-long convention of ASHA workers in Town Hall, Kupwara. The convention was presided over by Jabeena, ASHA leader and attended by representatives from various parts of Kashmir region.
The CITU leader said that the custom of paying poor compensation for extreme hard work should come to an end to protect the women folk working in different sectors in J&K. “ASHAs work in rough terrains of rural areas tirelessly and selflessly, despite all the difficulties they are confronted with,” he said and cautioned the Government to take serious note of the brewing discontentment among these workers and take necessary action for the immediate fulfillment of their demands, failing which, the National Health Mission may get affected badly.
Tarigami said in Andhra Pradesh, ASHAs are paid Rs 10000 per month, in Sikkim Rs 6000/month, Haryana Rs 4000/month, Karnataka Rs 3500/month, West Bengal Rs 3000/month and Kerala Rs 2000/month. Besides, the State Governments in various States are providing top up incentives and support to these poor workers but our State Government has neglected them.
ASHA leaders Mubeena, Jabeena, Tahira, Rafiqa, Syeda, Dilshada Malik, Zahida, Misra, Rubeena, Sara, Mehfooza, Shakeela and Haseena and senior CITU leaders, Ab Gani Bhat and Ab Rashid Najar also spoke on the occasion. They demanded social security benefits like pension, gratuity and maternity benefits for these activists.
The convention adopted resolutions which include providing of minimum wages of Rs 18000 per month, social security benefits, etc.