ASHA Workers Organise Rally in Bathinda
AT the call of Punjab CITU, a militant rally and meeting was organised in Bathinda on January 20. Despite biting cold, about 1000 ASHA workers and facilitators took part in this rally which was held near Civil Hospital, Bathinda. Several ASHA workers had their little babies with them. The district administration imposed Section 144 and did not allow the holding of rally and procession. But the police had to make a retreat when the CITU leadership told the police that they would defy prohibitory orders and would court arrest. Under the mass pressure of the rally, the police allowed to hold rally in the premises of the Civil Hospital, but did not allow holding of the meeting and use of loud speakers. Never before such a large number of police personnel including the lady police had been seen in Bathinda city to terrorise the working women. The rally was chaired by Amarjeet Kaur, president ASHA Workers and Facilitators Union, Punjab. Addressing the rally, Raghunath Singh, CITU state general secretary condemned the Punjab government for curbing the basic democratic rights of the working people of Punjab and added that in Punjab the criminals have every right to hold processions, public meetings and rallies and to loot the government exchequer, but the innocent workers whose contribution is maximum to the wealth of nation, are not allowed to raise their voice peacefully in support of their genuine and just demands. Supporting the demands of ASHA workers and facilitators, he said the scheme workers who are paid very little amount as honorarium cannot make both ends meet with the meagre amount of honorarium. He demanded that the ASHA workers and facilitators should be covered under the Minimum Wages Act and they should be paid Rs 1,000 and Rs. 15,000 respectively per month and they should also be provided social security. The rally was also addressed by Usha Rani, president Anganwari Mulajam Union, Punjab, Tarsem Jodhan, general secretary and Sat Pal Bharti, president, Lal Jhanda Bhatha Mazdoor Union, Punjab, Mehma Singh Sidhu, president Punjab Roadways, PUNBUS contract workers union, Punjab, Jasbir Singh, district president of Punjab Kisan Sabha, Gagandeep Kaur, district president Anganwari Mulajam Union, Punjab and Ranjeet Kaur, general secretary and Saravjeet Kaur, vice president ASHA workers and facilitators Union, Punjab. The speakers demanded that all the demands discussed and accepted in the meeting held with the chief minister of Punjab on January 9 should be implemented in letter and spirit.