Over 500 anganwadi workers and noon meal workers from across the State staged a protest at Chepauk on Sunday. They demanded reasonable wages, pension and pointed out that the current amount they received was insufficient.
A. Rengamma, a retired anganwadi teacher, highlighted the plight of other retired workers who live on a monthly pension of Rs. 1,500 and said that most of them found it difficult to make ends meet.
“Most of us are widows or separated or have been abandoned by our families. Pension is the only thing that helps us lead a decent life. But in today’s scenario, the amount is inadequate,” she said. The protesters pointed out that there was an urgent need to increase the pension to at least Rs. 3,500 a month. “I have to pay my house rent, buy vegetables, medicines and look after all my needs. We already have lot of debts,” she said.
The noon meal staff also criticised the State for not increasing their salary despite extracting huge amount of work. “We want the basic pay and salaries to be increased on time-scale basis, all vacancies to be filled and workers be treated like other government employees. These are our main demands and we will continue our protest till they are met,” said M. Varadharajan, convener, Noon Meal Employees and Anganwadi Workers Federation.