Bhubaneswar: Exactly two days after announcing a 50% hike in the honorarium for Anganwadi workers, the Odisha government today toughened its stand against the faction of Anganwadi workers which is still on dharna at the lower PMG square here.
Women and Child Development Minister Prafulla Samal today issued an ultimatum to the agitating Anganwadi workers to join work by tomorrow evening failing which the government will explore alternatives.
“We will wait till tomorrow evening as today being Kali Puja is a holiday. We will get an idea who is joining and who is not. Since we have taken up the responsibility of safeguarding lives of children we will explore other alternatives. We will rope in SHGs (Self Help Groups) and take help of nearby Anganwadi centres,” Samal said speaking to reporters today.
“We will ask the agitating workers to join work. We will allow them three days and if they fail to do so we will understand that they are not interested to work. We need not sack them they will be automatically disengaged,” he clarified responding to queries from reporters on the government’s plan of action in the event of agitating Anganwadi workers not joining work despite the ultimatum.
On the other hand, the agitating Anganwadi workers under the aegis of All Odisha Anganwadi Ladies Workers Association are in no mood to relent despite the Minister’s threat to disengage them.
“We are not scared of the threat given by the government. We will continue with our agitation till our demands are met with. We are not going to move from here. Let them disengage 1.5 lakh persons. After that, we will intensify our agitation and they can’t even enter villages,” said an agitating Anganwadi worker at the dharna site in lower PMG square reacting to the Minister’s statement.
Notably, a section of Anganwadi workers owing allegiance to Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)-the trade union wing of BJP are continuing with their dharna at the lower PMG square here, while others suspended their agitation following talks with the Chief Minister and subsequent announcement of 50% hike in their honorariums by the State government the same evening.