Call for grand success protest

Imphal: All Manipur Mid Day Meal (MDM) Workers’ Union has called upon all MDM workers to make July 11 protest a grand success for better food and permanent employment and no to forced labour.

The toiling people are suffering with lots of pain due to Covid-19 pandemic. Lakhs of people have lost their life, the workers’ union said.

Thousands of citizens have died without oxygen and without getting beds in the hospitals while Prime Minister and the government were making tall hollow claims.

“Due to irresponsible behaviour of the central and state governments and not making proper health care arrangements, we have lost many of our friends and relatives. Due to non-availability of proper health care system in the government hospitals people were forced to go to private hospitals who in turn have looted the common people heavily, the union said.

At the same time the lockdown and curfew has brought miseries to the poor people for the past one and half year. The workers have lost the jobs and wages. This lockdown and price hikes has brought havoc on the people. The conditions through which we have passed during these days is only due the inhuman and insensitive behaviour of this government and the system, it added.

Throughout the world there is free and universal vaccination to defeat this disease but in India there is shortage of vaccine. After a great pressure from the masses the government has declared free universal vaccination but out of the total production, 25 percent is left for private hospitals which shows governments attitude to help the corporates. It is very clear that this government is working to serve the interest of big corporates, businessmen and landlords. This government is selling the public sector such as railways, banks, electricity, insurance and other public sectors to the big corporates at throw away prices. To serve the interest of big corporates the government has amended the labour laws and brought four labour codes. Whatever rights were there for the workers, have all been abrogated and shall bring slavery for the workers. The farmers are protesting against three farm laws and against the electricity bill for the last seven months but the BJP led NDA government is not paying any head to their issues due to their policy to serve the interest of big corporates, it said.

Due to the pandemic, the schools are closed and the kids are not going to school. It is being heard that there may be a third wave of Covid-19 which will impact the children. Government does not seem to open the school in near future. The schools were closed but the Mid-Day-Meal workers have distributed the ration to the houses of children. MDM workers have helped the teachers and the staff of school also. In most of the schools forced labour was taken from the workers which is still going on, the union said.

They were engaged in cleanliness of the premises, the work of peon, gardening work and other construction work in the school. They are forced to stay in school from 8 am to 2 pm. Some workers are thrown out of job by making lame excuse of reduced strength of the children. The wages are not paid for months together. In this period of financial crisis the government should put money in the hands of people so that their purchasing power should increase but during this period the central government has not increased the wages of Mid-Day-Meal workers, it added.

On account of new education policy brought by this government the schools with fewer children, are being closed. As a result, Mid-Day-Meal workers will lose their job, and on the other hand the poor children will be deprived of education. In between, the government has issued a circular that the cost of cooking will be transferred to the account of children or their parents. This circular shows the mood or move of the government that, in future this scheme is going to be closed. The base of the scheme is to give freshly cooked meal to the children to nourish them but the government wants to close the scheme, it said.

Due to Covid-19 there is increase of malnutrition among the children and if the money is transferred to the accounts, the condition of the children will be the worst. The jobs of 25 lakh Mid-Day-Meal workers in the country and seven thousand in Manipur are in danger. Taking account of all these things there is dire necessity of agitation. So the All Manipur Mid Day Meal Workers’Union supporting the call of Mid Day Meal Workers’ Federation of India calls upon all the MDM workers in Manipur to hold protest demonstrations all over Manipur at their respective areas on July 11 and make the programme a grand success.

The union demands that vaccination of all mid-day meal workers should be done on priority basis; government health services should be strengthened; 10 kg of food grains per person per month should be given free of cost to the families of mid-day meal workers; stop efforts to dismantle the mid-day meal scheme through DBT, Mid Day meal workers should be paid minimum wages Rs 24000. Wages should be paid for 12 months. There should be no retrenchment till pension is provided. Retrenched workers must be reinstated immediately; all children (including children of migrant laborers) should be brought under the purview of Mid Day Meal Scheme. For this, more nutritious material should be prepared and distributed; no privatization of Mid Day Meal scheme in any form. Central kitchens should be stopped. Prohibit the privatization of public sector units and services, including education.; and the four anti-labour codes and all three anti-farmer laws should be repealed.

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