IMPHAL, July 30: Disgruntled contract employees of the National Rural Health Mission today locked up the State Malaria Office located at Lamphelpat today for withholding of their wages by the Health Commissioner.
District Malaria Officer, A Ibochou Singh appealed to the striking workers to talk with the concerned health director regarding their grievances.
However, the strikers also requested the officer to comply with their protest stating that it is too late for talks and asked the officials to leave their workroom. The head office and the laboratory of the Malaria Office were later locked.
The employees mentioned that an ultimatum was given to the state government to release their back wages by July 30 as they have not been paid since October, 2011.
It may be mentioned that the NRHM salary is wholly sponsored by the Centre and there are a total of hundred contract health workers. They have been employed since 2009.
The workers have an association titled Multipurpose Workers Association Manipur and works under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program. An employee said that they have been utilized in various programs by the senior officials till date, yet their salary for nine months have not been released.
“The health minister also gave directive to pay our salaries, yet the officers still hold back despite funds already released by the centre. Our contract has not been extended yet”, an official said.
He further alleged that commissioner Moses Chalai in a written notice to the association had stated that funds had already been released, but they have not been paid yet The intimation was made on the first week of June. “This is a clear indication that the commissioner is not concerned for the workers”, it was charged.
They also alleged that SMO, A Ibochou is an irresponsible officer and the mandated annual program like observation of Anti Malaria month has not been held since the last two years. The annual report is not released since then.
The workers said that the other malaria offices in the hill and valley areas have also been locked down and the protests will continue, till their salaries have been released.
It may be mentioned that the month of July and August are the working time of the health workers in providing anti malaria measures like fogging and chemical treatment of bed nets.
Meanwhile, the All Manipur RNTCP Contractual Workers’ Welfare Union will continue the cease work strike until their demands are fulfilled. The patients who are getting drugs before the cease-work strike will get the drugs as usual but the drugs will not be given by any contractual worker. Also, the supply to various DOT centres will not be done though contractual workers, stated a release.