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NHM employees stage protest across State

By Staff correspondent & correspondents

DIBRUGARH, Feb 10 � Health services under the National Health Mission (NHM) were hit due to the protest by some 18,000 contractual employees across the State today.

All the employees of the NHM under the banner of the NHM Employees� Association (NEA), Assam, today launched a seven-day boycott in protest against the Government�s failure to meet the demands of the organisation. The boycott will continue up to February 16, said Rituraj Borthakur, working president of the Association. The employees have decided to boycott office and hold sit-in demonstrations in front of all the offices of the Joint Director of Health Services and the State Project Manager Unit office in Guwahati in all the 27 districts of the State.

The NHM Employees� Association has demanded a hike of 20 to 30 per cent in salaries. The 10 per cent increment, approved of recently, has not been disbursed as yet. The District Project Manager Units and Block Project Manager Units have resolved not to appear for the performance appraisal in 2015 till the hike of 20-30 per cent is effected in respect of the salaries.

The Association also demanded rectification of the Health Services Monitoring System. It said that reducing the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is the collective responsibility of all field-level Health officials and medical officers, both contractual and regular.

The Association protested against making a handful of �lowly-paid contractual managers accountable for the MMR and the IMR in the State. The system, according to the Association, is draconian and has many loopholes. It questioned as to why the huge number of regular Assam Government Health employees are not made accountable.

It said that until the Health Services Monitoring System is rectified, the DPMUs and BPMUs will not upload any data of the Village Health Nutrition Day on the relevant portal.

Among various other issues, the Association asked why there are no Service, Financial and leave rules, no HR policies, no criteria for deciding salaries of qualified employees till date at the NHM. It demanded a written Service and Financial Rules with a service manual for each employee like the Sarva Siksha Abhijan Mission.

UDALGURI: More than 300 NHM employees, nurses and other Health workers staged a daylong dharna in front of the office of the Joint Director of Health Services in Udalguri town on Tuesday.

The dharna was organised by the NHM Employees� Association whose members held placards and banners in protest against the �indifferent attitude� of the State Health Department with regard to the Central Government�s order to regularize the contractual posts of NHM employees. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had sent a reminder to the State Government in this regard.

Office-bearers of the Udalguri district committee of the NHM employees� body alleged that the State Government has not acceded to their logical demands. They vowed to carry on their protest till February 16 to put pressure on the State Government to maintain the Union Government�s reminder to the effect that �States should move from contractual appointments to creation of regular posts for Health human resources and programme management.�

The reminder issued from the Union Government�s Health and Family Welfare Ministry also quoted that �States should plan to fill up the regular posts, which must also be clearly articulated along with the timeline.�

The NHM employees� body unit regretted that even after the Union Government�s reminder to implement the order, the State Government was being very passive.

Meanwhile, the first day�s dharna created problems to the patients, especially pregnant women and children, in Udalguri hospitals and health centres to a great extent.

North Lakhimpur: NHM employees started a seven-day strike from Tuesday in protest against the �false promises made by the Government of Assam� with regard to their various demands. All personnel engaged in essential medical services, along with the NHM Lakhimpur Management wing, have decided to stop work till the Government of Assam assures in writing to fulfil their demands. The NHM Employees� Association, under the banner of which the strike has been launched, alleged that NHM employees have been deprived of basic perks and privileges like regular and timely annual increment on salaries, regularization of jobs, CPF, grade pay, health insurance, etc., despite round-the-clock delivery of service.

The president of the Lakhimpur district of the NHM employees� body said in a press release that the central committee submitted memoranda to the Health Minister and other authorities concerned in previous years, but none of the grievances were redressed yet. He expressed the hope that after this joint decision taken by all employees under the NHM, Lakhimpur, including medical, paramedical and management staff, and ASHA supervisors, the Government of Assam and the Health Department would take a positive decision in favour of the NHM employees.

BARPETA: Health services in Barpeta district were severely affected on Tuesday as hundreds of contractual employees engaged under the NHM abstained from their duties and staged a sit-in demonstration in front of the office of the Joint Director of Health Services. Employees under the banner of the NHM Employees� Association demanded early fulfilment of their long-standing demands.

The Association demanded immediate rectification of the Health Services Monitoring System. They also demanded immediate hike of their remuneration by 20 to 30 per cent and demanded the release of the 10 per cent hike approved of in the ROP of 2014-2015.

The employees demanded status on a par with their regular counterparts under the State Government. They demanded equal pay and perks.

TINSUKIA: Enraged over the non-fulfilment of its demands, the Tinsukia district committee of the National Health Mission Employees� Association began a week-long sit-in dharna in front of the office of the Joint Director of Health Services from Tuesday. Its demands include improvement of services, enhancement of salaries with a full-scale pay structure, provision of provident funds, leave rules, group insurance, rectification in the salary structure of contractual employees, maternity leave, house rent allowance, etc.

The NHM employees also resolved to boycott office during the demonstration period. The demonstration will continue till February 16.

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