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Anganbadi Workers of Delhi begin their indefinite hunger strike outside Kejriwal's Residence.

23 July| New Delhi |  Anganbaadi workers of Delhi who have been protesting for the past 16 days today begun their indefinite Hunger strike outside Arvind Kejriwal's Residence.  The Anganbadi Workers of Delhi have been on strike since the 7 of July this month. But the Government has paid no attention to their demands whatsoever. The anganbadi workers have declared to continue their indifinite hunger strike till their short term demands are not met. The striking workers are demanding that their back wages be paid immediately without delay, they should be paid by the 10th of every month, every anganbadi worker should be given an I.D, they should be given Anganbadi worker insurance, the workers kept on Panel should get full wage, they should be given benefits covered under the SABLA scheme. The workers have been protesting outside Kejriwal's residence since 7 july demanding that they be regularized and given permanent appointments, 8 hour work day, minimum wage and other benefits given to a government employee.

Before the election the Kejriwal Government promised to abolish contractual labour system from work of perennial nature however after coming into power not much has been said or done in this regard. On the second day of the Hunger strike, a worker observing the hunger strike today told that the Government has made no effort to look into their demands or give them any assurance while they continue getting threats from the Supervisor of getting sacked. Bigul Mazdoor Dasta has been supporting the strike of the Anganbadi workers and  and standing in solidarity with workers in their fight for their rights. Avinash from Bigul Mazdoor Dasta said that there seems to be no difference between Congress, BJP or Aam Admi Party when it comes to delivering on their promises made to the poor working class of the country or state for that matter. The Kejriwal government which has allotted a whopping 526 crores of the tax payers money solely for Radio advertisement now fails to address the needs of the Anganbadi workers who have been on strike right outside the CM's residence for the past 16 days. The best advertisement for the government would be fulfilling its promises made to the common man rather than launching a futile radio PR campaign.

 The striking workers have been protesting everyday outside the civil lines located residence of Mr Arvind Kejriwal.  Anganbadi is a government sponsored child-care and mother-care program which relies solely on the work of the Anganbadi workers most of which are women. The Anganbadi workers are involved in looking after the education, nutrition, immunization and health of lakhs of pre-school children and providing health care and assistance to expectant and nursing mothers. The Anganbadi workers form the backbone of the program where in one Anganbadi worker caters to a 1000 people in her area. The urban poor in Delhi rely heavily on the services and assistance of the Anganbadi workers from pre-natal care to accessing information about immunization. But even after being allotted such important duties the working conditions of the Anganbadi workers are very grave. They survive on a meagre incentive of Rs. 4000 per month and are not given any other benefit or honorarium, they have no fixed hours of working. Apart from looking after malnutritioned children, poor and expecting mothers they have to do birth and death registrations and recently they also have been assigned election duties for which they receive no additional remuneration. The workers have been exploited by the authorities since the very inception of the program and  they have been from time to time raising their voice against this injustice.

This year the Anganbadi workers have been on strike for the last 16 days to raise their demands in front of the incumbent Aam Aadmi Government, since AAP itself in its 70 point action plan for Delhi promised to regularize workers employed on Contractual Labour system. The workers demand that the government fulfill its electoral promise that it made to them without any delay. The working class of Delhi voted for the Aam Aadmi Party believing that they will deliver on the promises made to them however even after more than 100 days of having been in power no substantial announcements or plans have been declared to regularize the largest work force that works on contractual labour system. On 16 July 2015 the Anganwadi workers organized a Chetavni Rally from Civil Lines to Delhi Vidhan Sabha to send across a message to the Delhi Government that they are in for the long haul and will not give up their fight until their demands are met and on 17 July the Workers organized a Protest Demonstration outside the Delhi Secretariat. However the government paid no heed to the voices of the protesting workers, the workers also burnt an effigy of Mr. Kejriwal in protest of the negligient attitude of the government. The workers have resolved to continue their indefinite hunger strike and protest until their demands are not met.

Bigul Mazdoor Dasta

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