- Asha workers protesting outside Shivraj Chouhan's home since Tuesday
- Police were trying to bring a protestor down from the mobile tower
- Two police constables were also injured in the process
A woman fell 30 feet to the ground from a mobile tower in Bhopal today while protesting for regularisation of pay. The police were trying to bring down the woman - an Asha (Accredited Social Health Activist) worker - from the mobile tower, barely 200 metres from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's home, when she fell. Two policewomen were also injured.
Around 3,000 Asha and Usha (Urban Social Health Activist) workers from across the state have been protesting outside the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister's home since Tuesday.
Congress leader Shobha Ojha attacked the chief minister over the protest and said these women have been camping outside his home for more than 24 hours but "he doesn't even have five minutes to listen to their demands".
BJP spokesperson Rahul Kothari, however, claimed their salaries were doubled about a week ago.
Around 3 pm, one of the protesters - Reena - climbed the mobile tower. Three policewomen followed her to get her down. After arguing at a height of around 30 feet, the cops reportedly tried to drag her down during which Reena, along with two constables lost balance and fell off the tower. All three were taken to a hospital.
The protesting women are demanding an increase in minimum salaries, fixed salaries and travel allowance. The association alleged that they have been making these demands for too long, but all their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. So they headed towards the chief minister's home in Shyamala Hills, but were stopped near the Polytechnic Square by the police.
The women then sat in the middle of the road and raised slogans against the chief minister.
Asha workers assist in childbirth, provide first aid, help with vaccinations and educate communities on birth control measures and issues of sanitation as part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) introduced in 2005, which envisaged planting at least one Asha worker in every village by 2012. Each Asha worker is meant to handle 1,000 people.
For every childbirth they are paid Rs 300 and an additional Rs 250 for a week of follow-up visits and the delivery report. But this is only if the woman is a BPL (below poverty line) card holder. "For collecting samples for various tests, we get Rs 15. Our income depends entirely on the number of cases we handle. So when there are fewer cases, we barely earn anything," Asha workers said.
Asha workers in Gujarat have also been demanding fixed wages, permanent employment with regularised working hours and social security benefits like maternity leave and health insurance.
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