ASHA workers remained relentless in their fight to secure a raise in honorarium by taking their protest to every district of the State.
Today, two rallies were held by the workers under the banner of the Meghalaya ASHA Workers’ Union (MAWU) in Mawkyrwat and Jowai in protest against the government’s apathy towards their demand, after one such rally was held in Nongstoiñ yesterday.
State union adviser, Sonny Kharjana who attended the rally in Mawkyrwat said the ASHAs are the backbone of healthcare system in the state and the government has failed to acknowledge their dedication by denying payment equivalent to their work.
She questioned Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on her recent statement, that ASHA workers are volunteers in the health system that offer services voluntarily, and said this was unacceptable.
South West Khasi Hills District ASHA Association President, T. Paliar, members of pressure groups such as the HYC, KSU, HANM, Seng Samla Shnong and Rangbah Shnongs were also present at the rally.
While the State government through a statement to the media stated that in the past few years it has taken up the concerns and issues raised by ASHA workers with utmost sincerity and dedication it has not made any assurance to hike the honorarium.
In Jowai, MAWU President M. June Myrching said that the claims made by the government that an amount of Rs 21.89 crore has been released through the application in the last twelve months and a total of Rs 34.50 crore has been released in the last 18 months, was incorrect.
Myrching said the workers doubt on some of the figures provided in the statement, saying that it is only with difficulty that they can earn Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 per month through government incentives.
She further said that the ASHA Payment Application has not benefitted the workers and alleged that the government is trying to fuel a conflict between the ASHAs and the Anganwadi workers.
Since November 6, the ASHA workers have seized work to demand an increase of their honorarium from Rs. 2,000 per month, which amounts to Rs. 66 per day. Its President said the union will not stop until their demand is met.