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Mnp Mid-day workers threaten strike over non-disbursement of honorarium

Correspondent IMPHAL, Jan 12 | Publish Date: 1/12/2020 12:28:30 PM IST

Mid-day meal workers in Manipur on Sunday threatened to launch cease work strike if the state government failed to disburse their pending honorariums within a stipulated time.

They alleged that the authority of the state government has failed to release their monthly honorariums since April 2019.

Addressing a press conference at Manipur Press Club, Imphal today, president of Mid-day Meal Workers’ Union Manipur, Y Indrani Devi said that the union has served an ultimatum to the government to disburse their pending honorariums at the earliest.

If the state government fails to address their demand, mid-day meal workers will abstain from discharging their duties even as the school session for the academic calendar 2020-21 begins.

She alleged that even as the Centre had release the first instalment of fund meant for implementation of the mid-day meal in the government schools, the pertinent authority of the state government did not disburse the honorarium with reasons best known to them.

The authority has failed to address their demands despite repeated requests, she alleged.

The irresponsive attitude of the pertinent authority has compelled them to abstain from discharging their duties, she said while appealing all concern heads of the schools to cooperate with their stir.

If the heads of the schools make alternative arrangement by hiring cooks, the union will boycott them, she warned. 

Altogether, 6951 cooks were serving mid-day meal in government schools across the state with a meagre honorarium of 1000 rupees per month.

Their demands for hike in honorarium was yet to be considered by the state government, she lamented.

With a view to enhance enrolment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally sponsored scheme on August 15, 1995.

In September 2004, the scheme was revised to provide cooked mid-day meal with 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein to all children studying in Classes I to V in government and aided schools and EGS/ AIE centres.

As compared to other states, the condition of the mid-day workers in Manipur was pathetic, the president alleged, saying that scheme workers were paid only Rs 1,000 per month.

In Kerala, scheme workers were paid a minimum of Rs 7,500 per month, she added.

A total of 6951 mid-day workers provide cooked food to more than 2.5 lakh children in Manipur, she said and appealing the government to recognise them and increase their monthly remuneration to Rs 18,000 with social security and pension scheme.

She also urged the government to improve and provide necessary facilities required for successful functioning of the scheme.

Success of the mid-day meal scheme will not be possible without welfare of the workers, she pointed out adding that there was the need to encourage them to serve the children with better working environment and welfare schemes.

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