AS a result of the struggle of the Anganwadi Mulazam Union (AMU), which is affiliated to All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH), Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has given assurance in writing that no anganwadi centre would be affected with the commencement of pre-primary classes. The government also made it clear that the anganwadi centres would function from their set locations and the government would not shut down any centre in Punjab.
Anganwadi workers and helpers under the banner of AMU, participated in the 67 day long mass militant agitation and compelled the Punjab government to withdraw its decision to enroll children in the age group of 3-6 years in the pre-primary classes in Government Primary Schools instead of anganwadi centres.
The Punjab government had to issue a fresh notification in this regard assuring the AMU that it would not close any anganwadi centre.
Earlier, the government had made policies to merge 800 primary schools and the decision to start pre-primary classes in government schools by merging the Anganwadi centres without considering the workers in this sector. The pre-primary classes at the government schools were intended for the children in the age group of 3-6 years which comes under ICDS. The pre-primary classes named as Khed Mahal, play palace, ultimately would have resulted in the shutdown of the anganwadis.
The government’s decision to merge the centres had raised several concerns of employment for around 64,000 employees working in 26,833 anganwadi centres across the state.
Anganwadi Mulazam Union held massive victory rallies at Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Sangrur and Tarantaran. Over 25 thousand workers and helpers took part in these victory rallies. Addressing the rallies, Usha Rani, all India president of AIFAWH, Raghunath Singh, general secretary Punjab CITU, Harjeet Kaur, president and Subhash Rani, general secretary of AMU and several other state leaders of AMU and CITU, congratulated the workers for their victory. The speakers called upon the workers to prepare themselves for another struggle on the demand to cover all the scheme workers under the Minimum Wages Act and all other labour laws.