|Early Times Report|
Jammu, May 15: Accusing the PDP-BJP government of 'betrayal', hundreds of anganwadi workers on Monday blocked the Tawi bridge to draw attention of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti towards their grievances.
Protesting for the last 101 days days, they are demanding enhancement of wages and regularisation of workers who have completed 10 years of service under the Centrally sponsored Integrated Child Development Programme (ICDS) in J&K.
Due to the protest, the movement of traffic on the Tawi bridge remained disrupted for more than one hour. "We are protesting for the last three months but the government continues to ignore us. We are just demanding our fundamental rights of better wages and working conditions. We had expected that being a woman, the Chief Minister would resolve our issues but nothing has been done," said Asha Kumari, an anganwadi worker. "A majority of the ICDS workers are women who are contributing greatly in implementing the child protection-related programmes but we have been ignored continuously," said Nirmal Sharma, general secretary of the union. "An anganwadi worker gets Rs 3,600 per month while a helper gets only Rs 1,800. In other states, workers get Rs 10,000 and Rs 6,000, respectively. Ministers and MLAs use crore of rupees for their own welfare, they should pay attention to the masses," said Sresta, a helper working in Akhnoor. Other demands include 10 per cent PPF/GPF be ordered in favour of workers engaged under the ICDS; block-wise seniority lists of workers be prepared and circulated within 30 days and Departmental Promotion Committee meeting once every year.
Presently, there are 141 projects comprising 28,599 anganwadi centres operating in the state covering a population of about 10 lakh people.