‘Stop removing midday meal workers using Union Government's circular'

Workers of the government's midday meal programme in the district demanded that the government stop removing workers from service by using a Union government circular and stop privatisation of the programme here on Tuesday.

Raising slogans against the B.S. Yeddyurappa Government, Karnataka Rajya Akshara Dasoha Naukarara Sangha slammed the Government for trying to reduce the number of cooks while extracting more work from the rest.

According to a Union Government circular of July 28, 2010, one person should be appointed for 25 children and two persons if their number was between 26 and 100. However, in the State, the ratio had been two persons for 26-70 children, and three for more than 75 children. The workers, who are affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, said the State government should stop firing people on the pretext of the circular and demanded that they continue the present arrangement in the State.

CITU district secretary Vasanth Achary said the salary of the workers under the programme should be raised to Rs. 6,000 as was the norm in Puducherry. At present, they were paid a paltry Rs. 1,100 for a cook and Rs. 1,000. “The government should be ashamed to pay Rs. 40 a day,” he said.

ISKCON slammed

Dudiyuva Mahileyara Samanvaya Samiti vice-president Padmavati Shetty criticised the move to hand over the cooking of the midday meal on contract to International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). She said that ISKCON staff went from school to school in Mangalore and made the school development committees hand over the contract to them.

As a result of handing over the programme to private contractors, 20,000 women became unemployed, despite this the committee that had probed the allegations against ISKCON gave the organisation a clean chit.

The workers demanded payment of honorarium within the first week of the month, payment of arrears and payment of honorarium every month rather than once in three months, regularisation of services, wages for Dasara holidays.

Our Udupi Correspondent adds:

The members of the district unit of Karnataka Rajya Akshara Dasoha Naukarara Sangha (State Midday Meal Workers' Association), affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), staged a dharna before the zilla panchayat here on Tuesday seeking fulfilment of their various demands.

In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Executive Officer of zilla panchayat N. Rajashekhar, the association said that the midday meal scheme was introduced by the government to check dropouts from schools.

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