April 13, 2021 4:45:10 am
THE AKHIL Gujarat Vidyut Kamdaar Sangh on Monday wrote to the managing director of the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) seeking suspension of mass maintenance and checking drives of utilities in view of the surge in Covid19 cases, pointing out that several employees are getting infected. The ‘notice’ also demands that the GUVNL must make special arrangements for Remdesivir jabs for nearly 100 of its employees who have contracted the virus and are undergoing treatment in hospitals across the state.
In the notice, the Union said, “Officials of GUVNL are seated in air-conditioned offices and are ordering subordinate staff to run around on the field, without appropriate safety measures. Maintenance and mass checking activities during the critical condition today has posed severe risk to the health of the personnel as well as their family mebersm, who could contract the virus through the personnel as they become super-spreaders of the virus, going to far-flung places for work.”
The notice says that as many as 20 employees of several zonal corporations of the GUVNL have lost their lives due to Covid at a “young age”. The notice states, “Six employees of the Paschim Gujarat Vij Corporation Limited (PGVCL), five of Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited(GETCO), four of Dakshin Gujarat Vij, Corporation Limited (DVCL) and two each of Madhya Vij Corporation Limited (MGVCL), Uttar Gujarat Vij Corporation Limited and Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSECL) have lost their lives at a young age and it is a matter of concern for all of us.”
The union has expressed concern over the unavailability of Remdesivir and urged GUVNL to ensure a special quota of the drug for its employees testing positive. “The scarcity of the life-saving Remdesivir injection, which is known for its effectiveness in the treatment of Covid19 virus, is well-known. Several employees of GUVNL and its associated companies are undergoing treatment at hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19 as were performing their duty because they are classified under essential services.
Therefore, the GUVNL should also work for the interest of these employees who are currently fighting the virus by ensuring that a stipulated quantity of Remdesivir is made available for its employees at the actual cost and not the escalated prices being charged due to scarcity. The GUVNL must make arrangements to ensure availability of the injection for its employees under treatment,” it says. The notice emphasised that mass checking and maintenance drives by DISCOMs should be immediately suspended. “The technical staff will not travel to carry out mass checking drives. Only those works that are enlisted by the government during this time will be carried out,” it states. The union has demanded that the GUVNL must issue directives to ensure only 50 per cent of staff working on a rotational basis only to carry out the basic activities of ensuring uninterrupted power supply across the state. Activities such as mass maintenance, mass checking drive, mass disconnection and shut down as well as any activities in the units within the power stations, where employees are being gathered without the adherence to the Covid19 guidelines will not be carried out, it states.
The union has also said a change in medical reimbursement policies of the employees is a “must” as the cost of treatment at private hospitals is not entirely covered in the existing policies. “Several employees have to admit themselves and their families to private hospitals for Covid19 treatment as the government hospitals are overfull with other patients. But according to the medical reimbursement rules of GUVNL, a major portion of the medical expenditure incurred at a private hospital has to be borne by the employees. Therefore, it is urgently needed that the company must revise the existing policy rules for Covid positive employees undergoing treatment at private hospitals to ensure that their expenses are taken care of by the welfare fund,” it states.
GUVNL managing director Shahmeena Hussain said, “The issue has already been discussed. We are already staggering employees to the best possible numbers and following all protocol. This is the union and so they put forth the same issues more aggressively. But the maintenance activities cannot be suspended. The demand for electricity is high during summer as even the industrial consumption increases. At such a time, the employees cannot choose to not perform their duties. They also have to understand that the demand for electricity is important at such a time when so many oxygen plants and life saving equipment are running and hospitals are also using a lot of electricity for the treatment. We have already addressed most of their issues.”
Hussain added that it was “not possible for GUVNL to make Remdesivir available”. “How can the GUVNL put forth such a demand from the government? There is a medical protocol in place and it is the government agencies related to the medical distribution that are looking into the availability of Remdesivir. We are not in a position to call in any special quotas for the same.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.