NHM workers of Himachal Pradesh wear black ribbons

Shimla, January 27

Around 2,000 contractual workers of the Health Department working under the National Health Mission (NHM) at health facilities across the state wore black ribbons today. "All NHM contractual employees, including drivers and doctors, at all health centres, sub-centres and medical colleges wore black ribbons on Thursday," said NHM Contractual Employees Union president Amin Chand Sharma.

Sharma said, "We will continue to wear black ribbons till February 1. If the government still ignores our demand, we will go on a day's strike on February 2. We will also decide how to take our protest forward after February 2".

The union is demanding the regularisation of the services of their members for the past two decades. "We have been fighting for our rights for over two decades now. Many states such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, etc., have formed a policy to regularise the services of NHM contractual employees. We fail to understand why the Himachal Pradesh Government is dragging its feet over the issue," said Sharma.

He said that the contractual employees were still being denied their due though they were the backbone of 22 NHM programmes running in the state. "Many employees have retired but they have got no gratuity. The serving employees get no benefits other than casual and medical leave. The situation is really discouraging for our people, who have given their best even during the pandemic," he added.

Sharma said that while states such as Punjab had started absorbing NHM contractual employees in the Health and Family Welfare Department, the Himachal government had not given any indication of adopting a similar policy. "There are many vacant posts in the Health Department. The government will get trained professionals if NHM employees are recruited against these posts. It will be a win-win position for everyone," he added.

Kullu: The contractual NHM workers wore black ribbons while performing duties at the Regional Hospital in Kullu.

The District Press Secretary of the State Health Mission (NHM) Contract Employees Union said that they had urged the government to fulfil their demand for regular pay scales. He added that 1,700 contractual employees were working for the state Health and Family Welfare Department under various schemes, some of them even for the past 23 years, but till date the government had neither regularised their services nor provided them the regular pay scales.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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