ICDS workers emerge in force to demand changes

ICDS workers emerge in force to demand changes

Members of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions who also belong to the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers’ associations, including Anganwadi workers, Akshara Dasoha workers and Asha workers, staged protests in both districts on Friday.

Their primary demands include: permanency of job and closure of the honoraria for the Akshara Dasoha workers as well as minimum wages for Anganwadi workers.

In Malur

B S Nagarathnamma, taluk secretary of the State Anganwadi Workers’ Union, who addressed protesters outside the Taluk Office, said that severe malnutrition is a common feature among women and children in Karnataka, and charged the State government with having failed to take action to alleviate the problem.

“The law insists that we feed undernourished children milk and eggs. Funds for the supply of such food are not released and Anganwadi workers are often forced to pay for such nutritious food themselves,” she said and added that hygiene and drinking water were among the many things that most anganwadis lacked.

“Also, the workers have not been paid their monthly wages. Job security is another worry,” she said. “Many workers have been working in the anganwadis for more than three decades, but their harassment continues.”

A memorandum was submitted to tahsildar Hanumantharaya.

In Kolar

The protesters in the City walked from the Travellers’ Bungalow to the tahsildar’s office to stage a protest. They demanded that Asha workers be paid at least Rs 10,000 a month until their jobs become permanent. “The salary should be paid by the 5th of every month.

All workers should get a pension, gratuity and other benefits. The anganwadi centres should get fresh registrations in time,” they said. Protesters have also demanded that buildings be repaired and that vacant posts of workers and assistants be filled.

“The honoraria for the purchase of milk and eggs to be fed to children should be given every month in time. The government should bear the expense of cooking gas,” they added.

They also called for the National Rural Health Mission to be extended to all towns and villages in the State and made permanent. They also called for the harassment of all Asha workers to be ended. “Also, they should be provided separate restrooms in all primary health centres as well as district and taluk government hospitals,” they said.

In Shidlaghatta

The protesters who gathered outside the Taluk Panchayat office complained that the minimum wage plan has not been implemented. “In many places the workers have not been paid their wages for several months,” they said and demanded that the workers should get the maternity leave they are entitled to. They also demanded that a work order be implemented and that Dalits be given house sites.

The tahsildar, Bhima Naik, who received their memorandum, promised that a meeting of all officers concerned will be organised in the first week of November to discuss the problems mentioned by all organisations.

In Bagepalli

The president of the Anganwadi Workers’ Union taluk unit, Vijaya Bharathi, claimed that since the ICDS is managed by private companies, lakhs of poor women have had to endure harrassment. 

She made the statement while addressing anganwadi workers, Asha workers and Akshara Dasoha workers who staged a protest outside the Taluk Office.

“The liberalisation of government programmes has deprived lakhs of workers of jobs. If the workers are denied various facilities, an intense struggle will follow,” she said.
G Mustafa, honorary president of the taluk unit, said that the recommendations of the R Govinda Committee on education is regressive and should not be followed. The Taluk Office shirastedar Narayanappa was handed a memorandum.

In Chikkaballapur

“Our demands have been kept on hold for several years, and need to be dealt with at least now,” insisted protesters here, after having led a procession from the Travellers’ Bungalow to the Taluk Office.

Mangala, the vice-president of the CITU Akshara Dasoha Workers’ Association, saidthat closing schools following the recommendations of the R Govinda Committee would not only deprive several Akshara Dasoha workers of employment, but also deny children in villages of educational opportunities.

Venkatalakshmamma, the president Assocation here said that absence from work and similar reasons were mere excuses to fire Akshara Dasoha workers and should not be used in the future.

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