Bombay Court slams authorities for being insensitive towards ASHA workers

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Mumbai: Voicing its concern over the ‘unfortunate’treatment being meted out to ASHA workers, whoareonthefrontlineof the war against the novel coronavirus, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has ordered the Union government to consider giving Rs 200 per day remuneration to such workers, who are surveying homes, even in hotspots. The bench of Justice Manish Pitale has asked the authorities not to give excuse of financial constraints as what they are paying as on date–Rs 2,500 per month – is too low. The judge was hearing a plea filed by the union of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers, highlighting the pathetic condition of such workers.

Notably, these ASHA workers are conducting door-todoor survey even during lockdown period and are working throughouttheday.Theunion claimedthat evenbasic equipmentfor protection is not provided to these workers. Opposing the plea, the authorities claimed that sanitizers, gloves, masks and shoes are being provided to the ASHA workers.Italsotoldthe bench that such workers are provided life insurance of Rs 1000 per month and that Rs 50,00,000 in case of death while discharging coronavirus special duties.

Meanwhile, the Nagpur civic body informed the bench that it has made a proposal to pay Rs 200 per day to these workers apartfrom the basic remuneration of Rs 2,500. It said that since it was having low funds, it was awaiting anod from the Union government. Notably, the Union government has a special Project Implementation Plan (PIP) fund, which the civic body claimed could be used for paying the 200 per day to ASHA workers. “This court finds that the ASHA workers,who are at the forefront of the war against COVID-19 and performing special duties during such crisis,are being treated in a most unfortunate manner. The amount being paid is hardly sufficient for survival of such workers,” Justice Pitale said. “It is distressing that thoseat the forefront of the war against COVID-19 are meted out with such treatment by the public authorities,” Justice Pitale said, adding, “It is made clear that if the authorities fail to take any decision and cite financial constrains, this court will consider passing such specific order.”

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