The Marathwada region in Central Maharashtra has the highest number of sugarcane workers who are mostly women. It’s been reported that more than 30000 women in Beed and Osmanabad districts have undergone hysterectomy as they were unable to go to work while they were menstruating. The contractors are reluctant to hire women given the possibility of them missing out on a day or two of work during their periods.
Congress leader and Maharashtra cabinet minister Nitin Raut, wrote to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray seeking his intervention to address the issues of women sugarcane workers who had removed their uterus in their bid to ensure they don’t lose wages.
When Afternoon Voice contacted Nitin Raut, about the kind of response he got from the chief minister, he said, “Response from the CM on this issue was very positive. A proposal should come up from the department. I asked the department to bring the proposal before the cabinet to give relief to the women. Those women want both holidays and wages.”
According to Raut, the women will not take such drastic steps if the sugarcane factories provide them wages for the four days of menstrual cycle during the six-month sugarcane harvesting period. To solve the problem of those women, Raut had written a letter to Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday stating,”Thousands of women sugarcane labourers from Beed and Osmanabad have undergone uterus removal surgery. It’s saddening as they did so to avoid the few days of their menstrual period wage loss. I’ve requested the CM to address their grievances. The government will certainly find a solution to it.”
Vijaya Rahatkar, Chairperson of Maharashtra State Commission for Women said, “This issue was brought to me a few months back and the state commission had taken note as it was a serious issue (Uterus removal). We have sent notice to collectors and civil surgeons and have demanded a detail report on same.”
What can be done to help these women on that she said, “Firstly, these women are not getting proper environment to work. And secondly, the honorable government should provide proper facilities to these women so that they wouldn’t have to go through this kind of surgery.”
When asked what the government should do, she replied, “The government should take this issue seriously and form some norms. Also they should conduct counseling session for these women to help to understand their problems.”
The coalition of Maharashtra government consists of parties like Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress in which Raut handles a slew of portfolios including PWD, tribal welfare, women and child welfare, textile, relief and rehabilitation.The leader also requested the chief minister to take the needed measures to ensure that women labourers are not forced to put their lives at risk to earn their livelihoods.
The labourers are migrating from several western districts like Beed, Osmanabad and Sangli with the hope of supporting their families by working as labourers in the sugarcane fields. A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure which removes the uterus. Hysterectomies are performed by either through their abdomen or vagina. Some can be done laparoscopically or with robot-assisted technology. The side effects, patient might experience after the surgery. The women can feel the pain at the incision site, swelling, redness or bruising at the incision site burning or itching near the incision and numb feeling near the incision or down their leg.
Dr Baliram Dhondiram Parsewar said, “There are no side effects after performing uterus operation, only the woman can’t get pregnant after uterus surgery. Side effects happen if the ovary is removed. Also, the woman feel hot and cold and her bones get weakened. ”