In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, contractual employees who were recruited under the National Health Mission (NHM) by the Government staged a protests last week, in front of the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital, over the sudden termination of 1500 contractual health workers.
When the police intervened, the protest turned violent with clashes between the NHM workers and police forces. However, later this week, Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor (LG) of J&K state, Manoj stopped by on a surprise visit, and assured the agitators that their contracts will be extended for another three months. They were also assured that they would receive weightage in the recruitment process of the health department of the state.
After receiving assurance from the LG, the agitators ended their protest. These contractual health workers, including nurses and caretakers, had come forward to help at a time when people were scared to even step out of their homes for fear of infection. Their services were used during the peak of the health crisis and when the impact of the pandemic started to subside, they were unfairly terminated from their services. The health workers claim that at the time hiring, the Government had promised to regularise their services, and therefore, the termination made them feel cheated.
In a similar incident in Chandigarh last week, 81 contractual health workers under the Union Territory (UT) Health Department were asked to leave and terminated from their services. These workers staged a protest against the Health Department at Matka Chawk, in Chandigarh. Just like the NHM employees, these workers, including nurses, pharmacists, technicians, safai karamcharis and paramedical staff were also hired at the peak of the pandemic.