Women workers and helpers of Anganwadis held a protest here on Wednesday demanding wages on the Haryana pattern. Though less in numbers, yet they were stopped by the police when they decided to march towards the office of the deputy commissioner.
The workers expressed disappointment over union minister of women and child development Maneka Gandhi who, on the floor of the house, allegedly undermined the efforts of Anganwadi workers while responding to a question by Tapan Sen, member of Parliament CPI(M).
"We are asked to do so many unofficial works like carrying out surveys about the number of cattle animals in the village, survey for Aadhar cards and smart cards, and managing booth-level office when election identity cards are issued,", said Usha Rani, national secretary of the All India Anganwadi Federation.
The workers were agitated on the condition of Anganwadis and alleged that for the last 2-3 months, there has been shortage of food items for them.
"For the past 200 days, we have not been able to provide food in the Aanganwadis and all the promises made by the state government are turning out to be hollow", said one of the workers.
The workers also demanded that their pay should be hiked at par with their counterparts in the neighbouring state Haryana where they are given Rs. 4,000 by the state government in addition to Rs. 3,000 which is provided by the central government.
"The central government pays Rs. 3,000 while our state government pays Rs. 2,000 which is not enough. Most of the Anganwadi workers are widows and keeping this is in view, we are demanding a pay hike," said Rani.
The situation turned a bit tense when workers burnt the effigy of union minister of women and child development and tried marching towards the deputy commissioner's office. Cops had to prevent them and there was a minor scuffle though no one was hurt.