| Midday meal workers at the protest march in Dhubri on Thursday. Telegraph picture |
Dhubri, July 3: Thousands of midday meal workers of the district under the banner of All Assam Mid-Day Meal Workers’ Union took out a procession in Dhubri town today.
The union also staged a sit-in in front of deputy commissioner Kumud Chandra Kalita’s office in support of its seven-point demands, including release of outstanding honorarium of its members and stop transfer of workers from one school to another.
Other demands include enhanced honorarium, amendment of circular order issued by the state government on August 17, 2011, on transfer, payment mode, one-time incentive, not allow allotment of the midday meal scheme to private agencies or contractor, life insurance coverage for the workers, medical allowance, provision of pension after retirement and initiate action against corrupt officials and school management committees.
The union alleged that 10,0650 midday workers across the state, including 7,000 workers of Dhubri district, have not received their honorarium for last 17 months. Moreover, the honorarium, which was increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000, has not been not paid for a long time, it said.
Talking to The Telegraph, Dhubri district secretary of the union, Aklima Khatun, said in Karnataka, Haryana, Bihar, Tripura and Kerala, the midday meal workers are paid Rs 7,500 as salaries with incentive.
“But in our state, the government is neither paying the enhanced honorarium of Rs 2,000 nor releasing our outstanding amount for last 17 months. How long will any one work without honorarium?” Khatun asked.
While lamenting the government’s new policy on midday meal, she said it was learnt that the government was contemplating to hand over the distribution of midday scheme to an NGO, Akshay Patra Foundation, and thus planning to retrench over 1 lakh workers currently engaged in the scheme.
The union also submitted memorandum to state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma through Dhubri deputy commissioner urging him to take initiative to settle its demands.