Gadchiroli Oct. 20 (District Correspondent) Maharashtra State Health Department Asha Worker and Group Promoter Association affiliated ITUC staged dharna in front of Zilla Parishad Office here to various demands.
The main demands included pay scale, annual pay increase, bonus, status to group promoters as contract employees and minimum wage for Asha worker, Diwali gift and boycott of online work.
The Asha workers and group promoters raised slogans and expressed their anger against the government during this protest. A memorandum was then sent to the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister through the Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Parishad.
Earlier, several memorandums were sent and morchas were taken out for raising the demands but no any action was taken. Hence a state wide protest was held in front of the panchayat samiti across the districts. On the 2nd day, an indefinite sit-in protest was started in front of the Zilla Parishad office under the leadership of ITUC.
The agitation was led by Mr. Vinod Zodge, State Secretary ITUC, Dr. Mahesh Kopulwar, State Executive Member CPI, Devrao Chawle, District Secretary ITUC, Adv. Jagdish Meshram, Sanjay Wakade, Balkrishna Dumane, Amol Damle, Rajni Gedam, Kavita Darwade, Sangeeta Meshram, Maya Divte, Maya Kamble, Jyotsna Ramteke.
Since the appointment of Asha Workers and group promoters under the National Health Mission, the work pressure is increasing day by day. Volunteers who work on low wages are themselves widows, divorcees or those whose financial side is very weak and it becomes difficult to run the families in the time of rising inflation. Therefore, Maharashtra Asha Group Promoters Action Committee started a protest across the state making various demands.
Various demands were raised including the group promoter employees should be given the status of government employees and the government pay scale and allowances should be implemented for them. Until the status is not given, they should be given the pay scale applicable to the contract employees. The annual salary- increase applicable to the contract employees 5 per cent and experience bonus of 15 per cent be given, apart from travel allowance to group promoters. Minimum wage for Asha worker, Diwali bonus should be Rs.10,000. Asha workers and group promoters should not be forced to do online work, should not be asked to do work without payment.
The demands also included 50 percent vacancies in health department should be filled from Asha and group promoters as per eligibility. Monthly Rs. 1,000 arrears of Corona era should be given immediately. The task of Abha card, golden e card should not be enforced. group promoters be named as Asha supervisors.
Mr. Vinod Zodge, has warned that the strike will not be called off until the demands are fulfilled. Thousands of Asha workers and group promoters from across the district participated in the agitation.