Fed up with the government’s apathy towards their pleas, the Meghalaya ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) Facilitators Union (MAFU) on Friday decided go on strike from February 24 till March.
President of MAFU, Ibajanai Khyriemmujat, said that from the time 20 ASHA workers were assigned to each facilitator, they have been diligently working but have not been paid the honorarium they deserve.
Besides that, the ASHA facilitators have a slew of demands that include a revision of the current pay structure, fixed honorarium with revision every year (as per government rules), revision of TA/DA rates per kilometer, additional incentives for extra duties, especially those for Covid-19, medical allowances and reimbursement to them and their families.
Khyriemmujat also informed that they had sent representations to the government in 2021, but so far, it hasn’t paid any heed.
The leader of the MAFU said that every facilitator is paid Rs 300 per visit and they have to make 20 such visits in a month but there are no incentives over and above that. “During the pandemic’s peak we were given Rs 500 whenever we were assigned duty, but now, even that has stopped,” said Khyriemmujat.
Sony Kharjana, advisor to the MAFU, said that even though the ASHA facilitators were given 20 days of duty per month at the rate of Rs 300 daily, sometimes they have to work more than the days assigned but for the same amount. “We have to guide the ASHA
workers and commute from one village to another hiring vehicles at our own expense,” Kharjana said.
She also said that besides doing their usual duties of making daily, weekly and monthly reports the ASHA facilitators are also entrusted with other programmes and meetings within the department.