The Maharashtra Anganwadi Sevika Union has alleged that the state government has not paid salaries of its workers for the last four months.
"For last four months, we have not been paid our salaries. We met Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde and Finance Minister Mungantiwar several times. But they say the government has no money to pay our dues," Anganwadi Sevika Union general secretary Kamal Parulekar alleged.
If Munde can award contracts worth Rs 206 crore, why can't funds be allocated for our salaries? she asked.
Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde is at the centre of a controversy with the Congress accusing her of involvement in a "scam" by clearing purchases worth Rs 206 crore on a single day instead of inviting tenders in violation of the norms. Anganwadis are government-sponsored child and mother care centres in rural areas.
However, state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that since the Rural Development Department has not furnished the actual demand for salaries in some districts, the staff has not been paid their dues.
Mungantiwar blamed the Rural Development Department for not furnishing the appropriate demands of fund to his department.
"I have informed all secretaries to make plans of their concerned departments and put forth the demands of necessary funds with finance and planning department, so that my department can allocate the required funds," he said.
"The previous Congress-NCP government decided to increase the remuneration of anganwadi workers and helpers before the state Assembly elections, which put an additional burden of Rs 178 crore on the state exchequer," he said. Though remunerations were increased, the provision for it was not made in the state budget, Mungantiwar said.
"They then lost elections and ultimately it was our duty to make the additional provision. But as the Rural Development Department has not furnished the correct figure, we have not allocated funds," the minister said.
"That is why in some districts, anganwadi sevikas remain deprived of salaries," he said.
Mungantiwar further said that he has given instructions to all secretaries to take care of salaries of contractual labourers and employees, anganwadi employees and labourers working on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
"I have also given strict instructions take action against district treasury officer, if the salaries or remuneration of these employee are delayed," he said.