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Unpaid for 11 months, Anganwadi workers protest in Jammu

JAMMU: Hundreds of Anganwadi workers on Thursday held massive protests and courted arrests here in support of their demand for regularisation of their services and release of salaries pending for the past 11 months.

They sought a hike in honorarium to Rs 18,000 for Anganwadi workers and Rs 9,000 for helpers, regularisation of their services and formulation of promotion policy in their favour.

Under the banner of Anganwadi workers and helpers association, they shouted slogans against the Jammu and Kashmir administration for failure to provide them salaries pending for release since January.

The workers, supported by the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), began the march from the Jammu Press Club but police did not allow them to move ahead. Consequently, they held a ‘dharna’ at the Jewel Chowk, one of the busiest road intersections in the city, briefly throwing the traffic out of gear.

Police officials were persuading the workers to stop their march.

After brief pulls and pushes with police, they courted arrests and some of them were forcibly taken away in the vehicles.

“The protests are being held against the government. Anganwadi workers are angry. They have not being paid their honorarium from January to November this year. Our demand is that honorarium should be released immediately”, BMS General Secretary Neelam Sharma told reporters here.

She also demanded that the government should regularise their services as permanent employees. “Unless they are regularized, the Anganwadi workers should be given Rs 18,000 as honorarium and Rs 9,000 to helpers”, she said.

There should be a promotion policy for anganwadi workers and helpers, she said.

She warned their protest would intensify if the demands were not met. Due to the strike of the workers, close to 30,000 anganwadi centres were shut in the region on Thursday.

Sharma said that honorarium should be increased immediately.

There are about 28,000 anganwadi workers and helpers in the state.


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