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Government’s compensation order flawed, include those who died of Covid after doing poll duty: Employees’ group

The association, in a letter to Chief Secretary, said the government’s order on compensation is flawed as it considers only those who died during the election duty or while travelling back home.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
May 13, 2021 5:46:25 am
The four-tier polls were conducted on the total 3,050 district panchayat seats.

The joint association of government employees, teachers and officers has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to amend its order of giving compensation to those who died of Covid-19 during panchayat election duty.

The association, in a letter to Chief Secretary, said the government’s order on compensation is flawed as it considers only those who died during the election duty or while travelling back home. The order, the association said, does not take into account those who developed Covid symptoms four to five days after doing their election duty and later died.

“No due thought was given in framing the government order… The order says that employees, who were on duty and died on duty spot or while returning to their home, will be considered under the scheme for compensation. This is wrong as Covid symptoms start appearing after 4-5 days and become severe after 8-10 days of getting infected… The order should therefore be amended and include all who did election duty and died of Covid later,” wrote the association to the Chief Secretary.

Harikishore Tiwari, president of Rajya Karamchari Sanyukta Parishad, said, “The government twists the interpretation (of the order) in its own convenient way. The definition of ‘sudden death’ in election duty would not be applicable to Covid cases as the infection takes 4-5 days to show… it is not like a person would get infected and die the same day… we have demanded the government to amend the order.”

On May 4, the state government issued an order stating that deaths due to Covid during poll duty would be included in the list of compensation. It said along with death in a terrorist attack, murder by anti-social elements, bomb blast etc, Covid deaths will also be included for a Rs 30-lakh compensation to families of deceased employees. It said the district poll officer would verify the claims and in case of Covid deaths, antigen or RT-PCR tests reports will be accepted.

Four days later, the state Panchayati Raj Department in a letter to all the DMs said the period of election duty would cover the time the employee engaged in polling or counting or concerning training to return to his home after doing the election duty. In the case of security personnel, the period will be considered from their time of arrival to the district for poll duty to their actual place of deployment.

The joint association has also demanded the government to increase the compensation amount from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 50 lakh and a job for one family member.

Earlier, the association had threatened to boycott counting for the panchayat polls on May 2, citing lack of Covid-safety arrangements during polling and claimed that hundreds of teachers had died of the viral disease during the panchayat polls.

Additional Chief Secretary (Panchayati Raj Department) Manoj Kumar Singh said, “The definition of election duty has been defined by the Election Commission of India, and we have simply taken it from there.”

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