Anganwadi workers' demand jeopardises pulse polio campaign
Over 1,000 women say they will boycott January 20 drive if authorities do not hike their daily wage to Rs 100 from Rs 70
For the first time since the pulse polio immunisation drive initiated by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was introduced, over 1,000 anganwadi volunteers threatened to refuse participation in the upcoming drive scheduled for January 20, 2013.
In a letter forwarded to the civic body’s health department, the female volunteers said they would not participate in the drive if the PMC fails to give them Rs 100 as remuneration for a day. At present, anganwadi volunteers get Rs 70 per day.
The payment is done by the sate Health Directorate in the state and the money is distributed through self-government, including municipal councils and corporations.
“PMC provides pulse polio immunisation for 3.50 lakh children every year, in which over one lakh immunisations are carried out by anganwadi women volunteers,” State President of Anganwadi Karmachari Sangh Nitin Pawar said. “We had issued a notice to the PMC and given an ultimatum that our demands should be met December 15.
The volunteers belong to economically weaker sections of the society and many of them are extremely poor and widows. The money will go to women who really need it and is for a good cause.”
Pawar said if Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was giving their share to the volunteers then why not the PMC. “The civic body passed the resolution of paying Rs 100 for anganwadi women volunteers for the drive in they year 2008. Instead of wasting money, the civic body should grant Rs 7 lakh for the useful work that is being done for generations to come,” Pawar said.
Anganwadi worker Avanti Dhende from Sahakarnagar said she and other workers had decided not to participate in the upcoming polio drive until the payment issue was resolved.
The Other Side
Dr S T Pardeshi, Chief Heath Officer of PMC, said, “We are ready to increase Rs 15 per anganwadi worker. But if the workers are firm on their demand, then we have to look for other options.”