Govt. invokes ESMA on agitating Anganwadi workers, prohibits strike for 6 months

Workers’ unions decide to intensify the agitation that completed 26 days

January 06, 2024 08:52 pm | Updated 08:53 pm IST

Anganwadi workers sit on a protest at Dharna Chowk in Vijayawada Saturday.

Anganwadi workers sit on a protest at Dharna Chowk in Vijayawada Saturday. | Photo Credit: G.N. RAO

The State government has issued orders invoking the Essential Services and Maintenance Act, 1971, against the agitating Anganwadi workers and helpers. The government issued G.O. No. 2 to this effect on Saturday.

The services of the Anganwadi workers and helpers were brought under ESMA, and orders issued prohibiting strikes by them for six months in the State.

Their ongoing indefinite strike has affected the functioning of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) at the Anganwadi Centres, and there was a drop in attendance of pre-school children and pregnant and lactating women at the centres, the government said.

However, leaders of the Anganwadi workers and helpers’ unions and associations condemned the act of the government to bring the Anganwadi women under essential services, and ‘‘threaten them in the guise of ESMA’‘.

G.O. copies burnt

“We have burnt the copies of G.O. No. 2 at Dharna Chowk in Vijayawada. Anganwadi workers and helpers will further intensify their agitation,” said AP Anganwadi Workers and Helpers’ Association State general secretary J. Lalitha.

AP Pragathiseela Anganwadi Workers and Helpers’ Union State honorary president R. Hari Krishna said the services of the Anganwadi women did not come under ESMA as their role was honorary in nature.

Relay fast

Meanwhile, the State-wide strike launched by the Anganwadi workers and helpers demanding resolution of their issues entered the 26th day on Saturday. The women organised protests across the State, and relay fasts in Vijayawada.

“We will intensify the agitation from tomorrow. Leaders of the CPI, the CPI(M), the TDP and the affiliated organisations have extended their support to the strike,” said IFTU-affiliated AP Pragathiseela Anganwadi Workers and Helpers’ Union State general secretary V.R. Jyothi.

“The AITUC, IFTU, CITU and other unions will continue the agitation,” Ms. Jyothi told The Hindu.

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