LAHORE- Hundreds of lady health workers and lady health supervisors on Monday staged a protest outside the Punjab Assembly to press their demand of pay and regularisation.
The government attempts to pacify protesters failed as LHWs and LHSs refused to call off protest on verbal assurance and demanded notification of regularisation and increase in allowances.
LHWs and LHSs are demanding regularisation of service, conveyance allowance and stipend for performing duties during anti-polio and dengue campaigns. Besides these, LHWs and LHSs are getting late salaries due to delay in release of fund from the federal government. Parliamentary Secretary Health Kh Imran Nazir, Director General Health Dr Zahid Pervaiz and other officials gave assurance of resolving all the demands at the earliest in a futile effort to convince leadership of LHWs and LHSs to call off protest.
Led by Rukhsana Anwar, Noreen Munawar and others, the LHWs and LHSs refused to call off protest till issuance of notification. They also threatened to boycott the anti-polio and dengue campaigns if their demands were not fulfilled.
Police blocked The Mall from Masjid-e-Shuhada to Alhamra to facilitate the protesting LHWs, disrupting traffic not only on this main artery but also on adjoining roads including Shareey Fatima Jinnah, Cooper Road and Hameed Nizami Road.
Not only cars and motorcycles but also ambulances and school vans were stuck in traffic jam for hours. Parents faced huge difficulties in taking children from schools to homes as they had to use alternate routes already overloaded due blockage of The Mall. Not only commuters but also traders at The Mall suffered a lot as blockage caused dip in business.
“Although the courts have placed a ban from staging protests and blocking The Mall, the road still serves as a platform for justice for every person,” said agitated Hafiz Noeman, a shop owner at The Mall. He complained that his business suffered a lot during such activities.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders including Ijaz Chaudhry and Dr Yasmeen Rashid reached the venue to express solidarity with the protesting LHWs and LHSs. They said that the PML-N government was following in the footsteps of PPP by not implementing court verdict regarding regularization of ad-hoc LHWs and LHSs and timely payment of salaries.
Giving reasons behind inconsistencies in payment of salaries to LHWs and LHSs, officials said federal government was releasing funds with delay and less than the required amount that was causing difficulties for the province. They said that to make future of LHWs and LHSs safer and to benefit from their capabilities, maximum workers would be included in dengue control programme evolved under long term policy for controlling the menace.
“Government has great respect for the LHWs and efforts would be made for resolving their problems,” the officials added.
They said that services of LHWs were of paramount importance for public awareness regarding diseases, conveying the message of hygiene condition to every house.