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Thousands of anganwadi workers, striking work for over a fortnight, today threatened to intensify their stir, despite Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's assurance that their allowances may be hiked in a week. The Delhi government released a statement claiming that Kejriwal met a "huge number" of anganwadi workers in five batches at his residence today to listen to their grievances. "Wait for a week or so, you are going to get a salary hike and that too a handsome percentage hike. We are here for you and will take care of everything," the statement quoted him having said. However, a representative of the Delhi Anganwadi Worker- Helper Association claimed that the meetings with Kejriwal were "staged" and "false promises" and are being peddled to tide over the crisis. "Such verbal assurances were given even in 2015 but nothing changed. In this case, volunteers of the AAP and a few supervisors were projected as anganwadi workers and helpers.
They do not represent us," the association said in a statement. The two sides also bickered over alleged "attacks" on anganwadi staffers. The government claimed workers who were willing to work were being attacked and threatened by the agitating union members, while the protesters accused the government of harassing them. The statement said the chief minister assured the workers and helpers that he will meet the Lt Governor and "apprise" him of the situation. "I will ask him to direct the Delhi Police to do the needful," the CM said. The CM also said that none of the staff will lose job because of any mergers of centres, an apprehension that has been expressed by the protesters. There are around 11,000 anganwadi centres in Delhi, where workers and helpers collectively number around 22,000. Workers are paid Rs 5,000 while helpers earn around Rs 2,500 per month.