Mysore/Mysuru: “Kerala Government is paying Rs.600 per day to the workers of midday meals whereas Karnataka Government is paying an honorarium of just Rs.123,” lamented State Midday Meals Employees Association (CITU) Treasurer Mahadevamma.
She was speaking after inaugurating the 5th District-level Conference of Midday Meal Workers organised by Karnataka State Midday Meal Workers Association (CITU) to demand minimum wages and confirmation of their services at Vishwamaitri Buddha Vihara Auditorium, near Ashoka (Ballal) Circle on Thursday last.
“Kerala Government is paying a salary of Rs. 18,000 per month at Rs.600 per day to its midday meal workers. But our Karnataka Government is paying only Rs. 3,500 per month at Rs.123 per day in the name of honorarium. How can one lead a life with Rs.3,500?” she asked and accused both the State and Union Governments of following anti-labour policies.
“These Governments are not bothered about the continuous agitations being organised by the workers demanding minimum wages and pension for midday meal workers. More than 6,000 workers have been sent home citing crossing of 60 years of age, without giving them any facilities. Though we are demanding a lump sum payment of Rs.1 lakh be given to these employees as retirement benefits, they are not responding,” she alleged.
“The State midday meal workers who are working for the past 19 years are in dire straits now. These Governments repeatedly say that they are committed for development. Are we not in their list of development? Isn’t our welfare a part of development? How can we lead our lives with the meagre amount of Rs.3,500 per month?” she questioned.
Karnataka Region Farmers Association District General Secretary Jagadish Surya, who also spoke on the occasion, pointed out that midday meal workers who provide daily meals to school children are being paid very less in our State.
Pointing out that our Legislators are getting Rs.1.4 lakh to Rs.2 lakh per month, Jagadish Surya said that on the contrary, the Kerala Legislators are getting a salary of Rs.4,600 per month. Kerala Government is paying a salary of Rs.18,000 per month to midday meal workers whereas Karnataka is paying just Rs.3,500 per month. Kerala Government is giving a pro-people administration, he added.
Earlier, midday meal workers took out a march from Ramaswamy Circle to Buddha Vihar. State General Secretary of Anganwadi Workers Association H.S. Sunanda, District CITU President Balaji Rao, General Secretary G. Jayaram, District Midday Meal Workers Committee President Manjula and others participated in the Conference.