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Sahiyas strike over pay

Ranchi, Feb. 20: Rural health services across the state took a hit on Wednesday as close to 41,000 sahiyas across Jharkhand observed a daylong strike to demand an increase in their incentive amounts.

The strike, first in the state since 2006, saw the sahiyas taking out rallies from their respective clusters and blocks in all the 24 districts. The rallies culminated into demonstrations in front of the office of the deputy commissioners of all the districts.

The sahiyas, selected under the Jharkhand Rural Health Mission and supposed to be the first port of call for all health-related issues in the rural areas, are entitled to performance-based incentives. They promote institutional deliveries and provide ante and postnatal care for both the mother and new-borns.

The sahiyas have, however, been clamouring for a re-consideration of their wages since 2011, which they claim is “less” compared to the amount and kind of work they deliver.

“We work more than the rural health service providers and have to face a lot of hardships daily. It is true that we receive appreciation from state sponsored programmes. But when it comes to releasing our incentives on time, the state dilly-dallies. The administration also has so far turned a deaf ear to our demands of a wage hike,” said a sahiya from Ranchi.

The protesters also threatened to step up their agitation and gherao the Raj Bhavan on February 27 if the administration failed to heed their demands.

“We want the state to either regularise our jobs or pay us Rs 3,000 per month as salary. It should not be based on performance,” said Namita Devi from Chaibasa.