A 28-year-old sanitation worker attached to Bengaluru’s local civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), succumbed to Covid-19 Thursday. The worker, identified by BBMP officials as Shilpa Prasad, was a resident of Chinnappa Garden near Benson Town and used to work as a pourakarmika in the Vishwanath Nagenahalli area (BBMP Ward 22) in the city.
According to a relative, Shilpa had skipped work last week as she had a fever. She had taken a Covid-19 test on Monday, the results of which returned positive two days later. “Soon after the test results were declared on Wednesday, Shilpa and her husband Prasad (a cab driver) tried contacting several hospitals but were unsuccessful in finding a bed,” the kin alleged.
After several hours, they were admitted to Dr B R Ambedkar Medical College “with minimal help from BBMP officials”. The relative claimed Shilpa was not put on a ventilator, which led to her death.
However, when contacted, a BBMP official said Shilpa’s admission to the hospital was arranged by the local civic body. “Her health deteriorated five hours after admission to the hospital, and she succumbed in the early hours of Thursday,” the official told IndianExpress.com.
At the same time, authorities of B R Ambedkar Medical College also denied the kin’s allegations. “We had informed her family on the non-availability of a ventilator, as all were occupied, advising her to seek treatment from another hospital. However, the family insisted we admitted her and begin treatment. Unfortunately, she passed away,” a spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Shilpa’s death has added worries to pourakarmikas in the city, who have been demanding better safety arrangements and working conditions amid the crisis.
At least five BBMP workers, including two other pourakarmikas and two staff members deployed for garbage collection, have succumbed to Covid-19 in the last week, raising concerns over the arrangements made for the frontline workers to fight the pandemic.
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