LAHORE, Sept 16: Seeking regularisation of their services, hundreds of lady health workers kept the health and district administration high-ups on their toes in a day-long sit-in outside the Punjab Assembly building on Monday.
Drawn from all over Punjab, the LHWs were not ready to wind up their agitation merely on ‘promises or assurances’ and asked the visiting officials to bring in a notification of regularisation.
The LHWs first assembled at Nasser Bagh at 11am and later marched towards the Punjab Assembly. They staged a sit-in on The Mall when the police stopped them from entering the assembly building.
A large number of LHWs had reached Lahore in groups from various parts of the province under the banner of Lady Health Workers Association.
They kept on protesting on The Mall till late on Monday which led to a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam on major arteries, particularly on Davis Road, Jail Road, Mozang, Queen’s Road, Lawrence Road and a portion of the Ferozepur Road.
The traffic police blocked all adjoining roads leading to The Mall and diverted traffic to the already clogged small arteries that multiplied the miseries of the motorists.
Health Special Secretary Babar Hayat Tarar, Health Director-General Tanvir Ahmad and Lady Health Workers Provincial Coordi-nator Dr Akhtar Rasheed were prominent among the other senior government officials who visited the protest site several times throughout the day to make the LHWs disperse but to no avail.
LHW Association President Dr Rukhsana Anwar told media that the Supreme Court and later the Punjab government had issued clear instructions last year for the regularization of their services but the department had shelved the case.
She said the LHW representatives had been visiting the offices of the departments but the matter was not resolved despite repeated requests.
During the day-long agitation, the representatives of the LHWs categorically refused to disperse and kept on insisting for concrete action on the pending case.
Later, a team of officials from both the health and district government led by District Coordination Officer (DCO) Nasim Sadiq also held negotiations with the protestors.
They dispersed after 11-hour agitation when the health officials showed them a notification of regularization of their services.
“We had already regularized service contract of 51,000 employees including 47, 000 LHWs besides lady health supervisors. They dispersed when we handed them over a copy of the notification in this regard”, Health DG Dr Tanvir Ahmad told Dawn.
He said the health department had also given an assurance to the agitators that a legislative cover required a period of at least two months to fulfill their other demands, including increase in salaries and other benefits.