Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: The Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) staff, who have been on dharna for last 13 days at Lower PMG square here demanding regularisation of job, have resorted to road blockade after four staff members of them fell ill on Wednesday night.

As many as 15 members among them staged a hunger strike after the government turned a deaf ear to their demands. However, four of them fell ill due to the fast-unto-death strike and no arrangements have been made to shift them to hospital, they alleged.

They said they will not withdraw the road blockade until their demands are addressed.

Large numbers of women staff members have been demonstrating here for the last 13 days for regularisation of job.

"We had been appointed at panchayat level to work at Covid Care Homes (CCH). Many of us are yet to get their salary. Now, the government has removed us from the job without serving any notice after three months of the appointment. We want reinstatement of job," said a protesting member.

“The Government had given us three-month appointment during corona virus pandemic. We worked selflessly while treating the Covid-19 patients at different Covid Care Homes. Now, the government took away our jobs. We want permanent job even with a meagre salary", said another protesting ANM member with folded hands.

"We are now passing through a difficult time amid severe financial crisis. We requested the government to help us," she added.

It may be noted that the Odisha Government had engaged as many as 21,000 ANMs, staff nurses and Pharmacists temporarily to augment the health workforce for smooth functioning of Covid Care Homes (CCH). They were appointed on daily wage basis for a period of three months or till the CCHs are functional. The engagement was made during the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in the State.