Imphal, Jan 21: Minutes after Chief Minister N.Biren Singh left Khuman Lampak Indoor Stadium here in Imphal after launching his government’s dream project “Chief Minister gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT)”, large number of ASHA workers protest decrying govt. over failure to recognize them in front of the Indoor stadium.
The government’s pioneer schemes fail to reach the heart of Asha workers but for different reason.
“Chief Minister gi Hakshelgi Tengbam”, a pioneer health scheme for providing financial assistance to the poor and needy was launched with great enthusiasm today. When the launching function was yet to conclude, some Asha workers were seen approaching the platform where the Chief Minister and other dignitaries were sitting. At the time when Health Director Rajo was delivering his vote of thanks to Asha workers went up to the dice and submitted a paper which later turned out to be a memorandum.
The Asha workers were expecting some special announcement from the Chief Minister in recognition to their service. As no words came out, the Asha workers gathered and demonstrate the protest.
Speaking to this reporter, President of ASHA workers’ body Thoibi said that on January 17, the ASHA workers along with Anganwadi workers and the Mid Day Meal cooks’ body submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding equal treatment of workers in the category in par with other states. Thoibi further said that the ASHA today submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding increment of pay in par with other states i.e. Rs 600 per day plus clearance of the due incentives. At present the Asha workers are paid asum of Rs. 1000 per month, said Thoibi.
As per field report, there was a protest from the Asha workers but what prompted the workers from demonstrating the protest is a different story. It was a fact that the Chief Minister and the Health Minister failed to mention anything in recognition to the service of the Asha where maximum audience was organized from among this group by the state health Directorate.
The memorandum submitted to the chief minister by Asha workers was after the chief minister delivered his speech and the Chief Minister did not have adequate time to go through the contents of the memorandum. After the Chief Minister and other dignitaries left Khuman Lampak the Asha were kept without any snacks.
“They said they will serve lunch for us and we are not getting anything to eat at this late hour”, said an Asha workers. She added that the snacks could have been distributed by us as our volunteers are more but they ignored our presence. We are not commodities which they can use anytime anywhere, the irate Asha worker Bina said.
Hunger and frustration led the Asha workers pour out their anger which finally prompted them to burnt clothes which were meant for distribution to them.
The ugly scene could have been prevented had the State Health Directorate authority organized the launching ceremony of the Chief Minister gi hakshel tengbang in a proper and without any discrimination.