September 01, 2019

AP: ASHA Workers Demand Release of Pending Wages

B Tulasidas

THOUSANDS of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA workers) staged a sit-in dharna at Vijayawada on August 26 demanding release of their wages that are pending for the last eight months. They also opposed the grading system introduced recently by the government intending to harass them and is a threat to their job security. Police detained many ASHA workers in their respective districts from 25th itself. Family members of ASHAs also were taken into custody at some places. In spite of repression, thousands of workers reached the dharna chowk at Vijayawada from early hours of 26th.

M A Gafoor, CITU state general secretary greeted the gathering and lashed out at the government for the hardships it has created. Scheme workers, contract, outsourcing employees and other working people who have meagre incomes, have been coming onto the streets opposing the misdeeds of the YSRCP government within a short period of three months of its coming to power. He demanded the government to pay all the dues immediately and to scrap the grading system for ASHA workers. K Dhanalakshmi, state secretary of ASHA workers’ union explained the grading system and job chart issued by the government and the consequences. She also ridiculed the act of government that put ASHA workers in the list of government employees and curtailing the white (BPL) ration card and other welfare measures to the ASHAs. She demanded the government to delete ASHAs from that list and to continue the welfare measures as they were before. PSV Ratnam, state president of the union presided over the meeting. CITU state leaders V Umamaheswar Rao, K Swarupa Rani and others also spoke.

The government yielding to the pressure had announced that the pending wages would be released in a week. The state director of National Health Mission, Kartikeya Misra said that the grading system is under discussion only.