The 32-hour protest by lady health workers finally came to a close on Tuesday after negotiations with the Health Department proved fruitful.
The Health Department promised it would propose a bill in the Punjab Assembly on March 5 to regularise the LHWs by April 30. The department also said it would constitute a committee to resolve any future disputes between the LHWs and the Health Department.
A Health Department spokesman said, “The government has released Rs350 million as bridge financing for the LHWs’ salaries.” He said the LHWs would receive their salaries for January 2014 within the week.
Adviser to the Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique led the government’s negotiating team. “The Health Department will work on all aspects of the draft and present it before the Assembly for legislation on it,” he said.
Lady Health Workers President Rukhsana Anwar told the media that the government had assured them that it would present the bill in the Assembly on March 5. “The government has said that it would pay our salaries on time so we have decided to end our sit-in,” she said.
Traffic on The Mall remained blocked the whole day on Tuesday because of the protest. Police had erected barricades in front of the Punjab Assembly and blocked the road for traffic. The traffic also remained blocked on neighbouring arteries. Six lady health workers fainted from exhaustion on Tuesday and were taken to a hospital for treatment. They were later discharged and none of them was in a serious condition.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2014.
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