Gadchiroli Jan. 1 (District correspondent) The Anganwadi Workers attached to AITUC staged the jail bharo agitation today to press their long pending demands and also to protest against the administration’s act of breaking the locks of Anganwadi Centres in the district.
Thousands of Anganwadi workers assembled at Gondwana Bhavan in the city and marched through the main road protesting against state government’s negligence in fulfilling their demands. They, later on held a protest meeting in front of the women’s hospital which was addressed by Dr. Mahesh Kopulwar, CPI state council member and Dewrao Chawed, District Secretary of AITUC. The leaders strongly criticized the state government for neglecting the Anganwadi workers issue.
The workers then marched to the Indira Gandhi square and started chakka jam agitation shouting the slogans. However, the police reached the spot and detained the union leaders and Anganwadi workers and took them to the police station.
A delegation of the leaders called on the Dy. CEO (Women and Child Welfare) Ms. Archana Ingole and discussed the issue. The Dy. CEO assured the delegation not to break the locks of the Anganwadis till Jan. 5 next, according to Mr. Chawde.
The Women and child Welfare authorities have started breaking the locks of the Anganwadi Centres for the last five days without giving any notice or information to the Anganwadi workers concerned and this act of the administration is highly objectionable. Who will be responsible for any loss in the centers, he asked demanding that this act be stopped immediately.
The main demands for which today’s jail bharo agitation was staged include Anganwadi workers be given the status of government employees and pay scale be applied. An honorarium of Rs. 26,000 per month should be given to the Anganwadi workers until a status of regular government employee is given, gratuaity, mini Anganwadi centres should be turned into regular Anganwadis, provident fund and other benefits be given as per Supreme court orders, rate of diet be increased to Rs. 16 for the general children and Rs. 24 for the malnourished children, sick leaves be sanctioned as per the government employees and reimbursement of medical expenses incurred on the treatment be given to the Anganwadi workers etc.
The AITUC leaders have warned to intensify the agitation till these demands are not fulfilled by the government. A strict police bandobasta was maintained during the jail bharo agitation.