Mid-day meal workers stage protest

‘Bills are not cleared for many months and salaries not paid’

The members of the A.P. Mid-day Meal Scheme Workers Union staged a protest alleging harassment by the YSR Congress Party workers, delay in clearance of their bills since many months and a few other issues here on Wednesday. They alleged that the State government has even failed to provide them salaries on time.

Later addressing a press conference at Gandhi Statue near GVMC building, State president of the union G. Varalakshmi said that around 200workers were sacked due to various reasons in Rolugunta, Madugula, Anakapalle, Yelamanchali and a few other areas in Visakhapatnam district, while many women have resigned from the jobs unable to bear the pressure and harassment from the YSRCP workers.

Despite not allotting any special funds, not clearing bills on time and not addressing basic issues, around 6,000 mid-day meal workers have been working in the schools and providing food to the children, she said. She said that no additional incentives were provided by the government even though the prices of vegetables and kitchen essentials, have increased. The State government had promised to pay a salary of ₹3,000 per month. The last full salary was paid in January. Then the salary was cut due to COVID-19, school closure and other reasons. Since August, no salary was credited, she added.

The members also said that the State government needs to clear pending bills to the tune of ₹1 crore to all the mid-day meal workers in the district. Though they have taken up the issues with the District Educational Officer (DEO) and a few other officers, no action has been taken so far, they said.

Akshaya Patra

The union members also said that the officials are now mulling to remove the mid-day meal workers and appoint ‘Akshaya Patra’ at ZP High School, Chandrampalem. Condemning the decision, they said that about 10 women who have been working in the school for the last 13 years, would lose their jobs, if this decision was implemented.

Though the government neglected in clearing bills on many occasions, the workers adjusted to the situation and prepared food for the children. In this school itself, the government has to clear bills amounting to around ₹13 lakh. “We will stage a protest if the decision is implemented,” they added.

A Mangasri, Jyothi and other leaders were present.

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