NHM workers on indefinite strike for 29 days, hunger strike enters Day 6

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NHM contractual employees are involved indefinite dharna in Freedom Park since last 29 days.

BENGALURU: The protest by thousands of contract health workers, appointed under the National Health Mission (NHM), entered the 29th day on Tuesday even as they have been on a hunger strike for the last six days at Freedom Park demanding job security and regularisation of services.

On several occasions, the union had requested the state government to regularise their jobs, but there had been no positive response. Following this, the employees resorted to protest.

The NHM union members say that the government in Manipur has issued orders to regularise the services of NHM in-source employees. Similarly, the governments in Odisha, Rajasthan, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have also started the process of regularising the services of contractual employees, they argued.

Kumar, president of NHM employees union, said, “Today, our protest has entered the 29th day. The state government, Chief Minister and Health Minister should not do this to us. If the department holds discussions with us, there will be no need to continue protest. Our only demand is to regularise contract employees. Six states have already passed orders regarding regularisation and a similar decision was taken by the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh too”.

He further added, “The government has not responded to our requests. We are requesting the government to issue a written order on regularising our services”.

“The Chief Minister and Health Minister have received awards for preventing Covid 19 and they showered flowers on us, but nothing has been done after that. We still have respect for the government. If they have any concern for NHM workers, let them call us for discussion about reguarisation of contract”, Kumar said.

“For now, we have called the employees in batches from the different district, but from tomorrow onwards, we will intensify the strike. More than 30,000 employees will join they protest and we will continue in the same manner”, Kumar warned.

“Our major demand is regularising in-source contractual employees. We have been working under the National Health Mission (NHM) with the State Health and Family Welfare Department for the past 15-20 years. We are staging hunger strike for the last six days and some of the protesters have fallen ill. Some NHM workers are doing their service on humanitarian ground. We still have hope in the government”, said Jagadish, joint secretary of state NHM employees’ union.

Soumyashri, a staff nurse, said, “None of the government representatives have come here to listen to our problem over the last 29 days. They should at least ask what our over concern is. We had served society during Covid emergency, ignoring our own families. Now the government is blind to our plight. I am working as a staff nurse since 15 years, but I’m still getting a salary Rs 13,000 per month. I insist that the government and the Health minister regularise our service before the election”.

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