Updated: July 2, 2021 11:55:40 am
The city’s largest power discom BSES has requested the Delhi government to consider electricity workers as frontline workers, saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of 22 employees, including 18 during the second wave, official records show.
In its petitions to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), both BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna have pointed out that the impact of the second wave on the workforce of the companies, especially on their frontline field staff, has been particularly serious.
BSES Rajdhani said it till March 2021, the company lost two employees to Covid, while 316 got infected by the virus. Between March 2021 and the first week of May, eight employees succumbed and 278 contracted the virus, it said. “Even the employees of our vendors/ contractors are suffering and have been severely infected with the virus,” it wrote.
In the case of BSES Yamuna, 498 employees contracted Covid, of which two died till March 2021. During the second wave, 10 more employees passed away and 304 got infected. “Our workforce has been performing its duties relentlessly and thanklessly since March 2020. Without caring for their own personal safety, our field staff have acted like front-line workers and made all efforts to ensure continuity and reliability of supply in our area of supply,” it said.
The companies urged the DERC to nudge the Delhi government to extend the policy of one-time ex-gratia compensation to kin of frontline workers who died due to Covid while discharging duties to electricity workers as well, saying they are “performing their duty of providing uninterrupted supply of electricity with full dedication.”
“Supplying non-stop electricity is not at all an easy thing to do in the dangerous pandemic atmosphere, but our employees are performing their duties diligently as they know that electricity supply has become more important during the present crisis. Hence it is requested that the government should extend this facility of ex-gratia payment of Rs 50 lakh to BYPL and BRPL employees as well, as electricity workers definitely come under the category of front-line workers and we are playing our part in the fight against Covid-19 with full commitment and enthusiasm,” the petition reads.
In their petitions, the companies also listed the measures being taken to assist the employees to face Covid in the form of helplines, and special insurance cover. The overall morale of all the employees is at an all-time low and there is an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty all across the organisation. The workforce, especially the skilled manpower and technically proficient labour, is scarce and there are a lot of unforeseen and uncontrollable delays that are being caused and will for performing their day to day functions,” they said.
The discoms have been aggressively pushing for an increase in the city’s power tariff citing the “grave impact” of the Covid-19 second wave and the possibility of a possible third wave.
While the BSES Rajdhani has increased its projected revenue gap in 2021-22 from Rs 1,703 crore to Rs 3,577 crore, the BSES Yamuna, which covers east Delhi, has increased the projected gap from Rs 1,148 crore to Rs 1,945 crore. The TPDDL, which had earlier filed that it expects a revenue gap of Rs 1,108 crore unless rates are revised, wrote to DERC after the second wave saying it expects a further dip in income in 2021-22 compared to the previous year.
Revenue gap refers to the difference between the income and expenses incurred by the discoms and its increase reflects a decline in the financial health of companies.
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