Tripura Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Holds Rally for Gratuity and Other Demands in Agartala City

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Posted in Featured, Northeast, Tripura
Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura

Agartala, June 01, 2024: The Tripura Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union in collaboration with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Working Women’s Coordination Committee and All India Democratic Women’s Association organized a mass march through the streets of Agartala city on Saturday. The protest aimed to press a 4-point charter of demands prominently including the payment of gratuity to Anganwadi workers and helpers as mandated by a recent Tripura High Court order.

The march culminated with representatives from various leftist organizations jointly submitting a deputation to the Director of the Social Welfare and Social Education Department. Former minister Manik Dey, leaders Panchali Bhattacharya and Rama Das were among the key figures who lent their support and presence to the procession, highlighting the significance of the cause.

Addressing the demonstrators, former minister Manik Dey emphasized the long-standing legal provisions supporting their demands. “The Payment of Gratuity Act was enacted in 1972, entitling all Anganwadi workers and helpers, irrespective of their employment in the public or private sector, to gratuity benefits,” Dey stated. “On May 9, the Tripura High Court issued a directive mandating the payment of gratuity to these workers in accordance with the Act. The state government is required to disburse this gratuity within 30 days of an employee’s retirement, failing which, they must include an interest of 7%.”

Dey criticized the state government’s delay in complying with the court’s order, which has prompted the current wave of protests. “The government’s procrastination in fulfilling its legal obligations has left us with no choice but to take to the streets,” he asserted.

In addition to the demand for gratuity payments, the protesters outlined three other crucial demands: an increase in the wages of Anganwadi workers and helpers, an extension of their working hours, and the reinstatement of retrenched Anganwadi workers. These demands reflect broader issues of fair labor practices and job security, underscoring the precarious conditions faced by these essential workers.

Panchali Bhattacharya voiced the collective determination of the demonstrators. “Our fight is not just for gratuity but for dignity, fair wages, and job security for every Anganwadi worker and helper in Tripura,” she declared. “The government must heed our demands and take immediate action to address these pressing issues.”

As the protest drew to a close, the mood among the participants remained resolute. The day’s events underscored a deep-seated frustration with the state’s handling of Anganwadi workers’ rights, signaling a potential escalation in labor actions if the demands are not met promptly. The outcome of this confrontation now rests in the hands of the state administration, which faces mounting pressure to comply with both legal mandates and moral imperatives.

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