The stalemate between the government and protesting National Health Mission (NHM) employees continued as the pen down strike of the employees, which started on March 1 against non-regularization of their services, entered its day twelve on Sunday. As a mark of protest, NHM employees came out on the busy Residency Road and cleaned windshields and windowpanes of private vehicles and buses. Pertinently, there has been no end to the 12-day long deadlock despite several meetings of the protesting employees with NHM Mission Director, Health Minister and MoS Health during the past few days.
Talking to Greater Kashmir president of the NHM Employees Association, Shaheen Shah, said that government has assured the protesting employees that a high-level committee would be formed in next 24-hours to address issues such as regularization of services. "We were invited by Speaker of Legislative Assembly Kavinder Gupta today and he assured us that he will personally intervene in the matter. We have been assured that a high-level committee will be formed soon. This committee is expected to frame a draft policy which should happen soon," Shah said.
Shah said Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh who visited the protesting employees at Kathua assured if need arises, a cabinet meet would also be called to address demands of the protesting employees. To mention, NHM employees had extended their strike by 72-hours on Saturday after their meeting with Health Minister did not end the deadlock. Shah said in their meeting with MoS Health Asiea Naqash on Sunday, the minister informed the protesting employees that their services are significant for the health sector and also stressed on formation of a high-level committee on an immediate basis. "Apart from regularization of services, other demands such as social security benefits which includes maternity and paternity leave, mediclaim etc have been already assured to us. With regard to enhancement in the salary we were assured by MoS Health that the issue will be taken up with the Union Ministry of Health soon and hopefully this will be brought into effect from next financial year," Shah said.