ASHA workers to revive agitation post Assembly session

ASHA workers to revive agitation post Assembly session
Highlights

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) who waged agitation for 106 days to get their long pending problems resolved are contemplating to revive their protest very soon. The ASHA workers under the aegis of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) started the strike on September 2, 2015 and continued it for 106 days across the state demanding the government that they provide Rs 15,000 salary.

Karimnagar: Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) who waged agitation for 106 days to get their long pending problems resolved are contemplating to revive their protest very soon. The ASHA workers under the aegis of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) started the strike on September 2, 2015 and continued it for 106 days across the state demanding the government that they provide Rs 15,000 salary, recognise them as Auxiliary Nurses and Midwives (ANMs) and provide health and insurance facilities.

They withdrew the agitation when the government sought some time to take a decision on the issue. They hoped the government would allocate some amount for them in the State’s annual budget have decided to revive the agitation once the ongoing assembly sessions get over.

Prior to their second phase of strike, the ASHA workers have decided to mount pressure on the government and ask legislatures to raise the issue in the Assembly. As part of their agitation programme, ASHA workers have decided to stage dharna at Indira Park on March 18.
Speaking to the The Hans India, CITU district secretary Yedavalli Muthyam Rao said that they were meeting all the 119 legislatures requesting them to raise the issue in the House.

According to National Health Mission guidelines, states were free to take decision on ASHA workers’ remuneration but Telangana government was trying to escape from its responsibility by blaming the Centre, he said. “This was also mentioned in the letter addressed to Suresh Chanda, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Telangana government, by CK Mishra, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, NHM, Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, on November 26, 2015,” the CITU leader said.

The Union government replied on the state’s appeal, he added. In the letter, Mishra stated that Rs 3,000 honorarium was provided to ASHA workers by Sikkim government, Rs 4,000 in few districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Rs 1,600 in Rajasthan, Rs 700 in Kerala and Rs 500 in Haryana. These states have allocated amounts in their annual budgets.

The State government was playing with the lives of 26,000 workers by not recognising the services of the grassroots level workers, opined Rabiya Begum, ASHA workers district president. Though they have been utilised for various government programmes like Haritha Haram, Grama Jyothi, government surveys and other programmes, they were not paid any additional amount, she said and added that a meagre amount of Rs 20 per vaccination and Rs 200 per institutional delivery would be provided, she lamented.

ASHA workers’ state general secretary R Tulasi said that while participating in the election campaign meeting in Mahbubnagar, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had promised to hike the remuneration to Rs 5,000 but he had forgotten his assurance after coming to power. Stating that 90 percent of ASHAs belonged to SC community, she said the poor women have been leading a miserable life in the rural areas.

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