Mrunal Manmay Dash

Thousands of Anganwadi workers joined a huge protest march called by the Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh, Odisha, on Wednesday in Bhubaneswar demanding regularisation of their jobs and equal pay for equal work.

They alleged that the State government has betrayed them by giving them assurances but not delivering on them.

“The government has betrayed us. The only thing that the government has given us is assurances and nothing else. We want to make this government know that it is inefficient and good for nothing. This government should be toppled,” said a protesting Anganwadi worker.

“We demand all the scheme employees including the Anganwadi workers to be regularised. Every employee should be paid equally for equal jobs. And no minimum wages, we demand living wages for the employees,” she demanded.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Odisha Women and Child Development Department had warned of strict action against the Anganwadi workers if found taking leaves to participate in the protest today.

The letter was issued to all the district Collectors directing them to ensure that the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) continues in Odisha without any interruption as the Anganwadi centres form the focal point for the delivery of these services (ICDS).

Asked about the government warning, a protesting Anganwadi worker said, “If the government fires even one Anganwadi worker, we will forget that there is a government in Odisha. A woman can become so much dangerous if she is tested.”

As per reports, 300 trade unions who have affiliations with the Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh joined the march including the contractual workers and workers of Central and State government PSUs.

They also threatened to intensify their protest if the government does not pay heed to their demands.