Updated: May 26, 2021 10:06:52 am
Even as employees’ associations are collating their own data on the death of staffers deputed on panchayat poll duty, the state government has planned to redefine the term ‘election duty’ in times of Covid and will set a specific time frame within which employees coming down with the viral infection or losing their lives to it would be considered for compensation.
The new guidelines would be notified within the next three days and the actual assessment of deaths, based on the new criteria, will follow, officials informed.
UP State Employees’ Joint Council recently submitted its ‘first’ list of ‘518’ employees to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, detailing names, departments and date of death of employees put on poll duty. It said it was the first list as it was in the process of gathering information from the rest of the departments as well. The Council also demanded inclusion of contractual employees, who got infected on poll duty and died, in the list of those to be awarded compensation.
“We are in the process of gathering information from all the departments but have sent the first list to the government so that it can start verifying the names at their own end as well. According to our estimation, there are over 1,000 more employees who were assigned poll duty and lost their lives to Covid-19,” Harikishore Tiwari, president of the Council, said.
He said that the list prepared by them includes employees from the Education Department, Public Works Department, Irrigation Department and Panchayati Raj Department, among others, adding that they are yet to gather data from many departments. He said the first list is only of government employees.
Asked about the lists being drawn up by the different associations, Additional Chief Secretary Panchayati Raj Manoj Kumar Singh said, “We would not comment on the numbers as we are in the process of redefining election duty in the context of Covid. We would make the new guidelines public within the next three days and based on the same, the beneficiaries would be finalised.”
The government has been locked in a tussle with the employees’ and teachers’ associations on the issue of compensation to employees who were infected with Covid-19 on poll duty and died later. But most of the deaths cited by them were not considered by the government since ‘election duty’ is presently defined as the journey of the employee concerned from his/her house to the place where he has been assigned poll duty and back home.
However, since many caught the virus on poll duty and succumbed later, the employees and teachers demanded that the government amend the existing guidelines considering the evolving scenario, to which it agreed. The focus now has shifted to how the term ‘election duty’ is redefined, as both employees and teachers have also demanded that poll training be included in the time period to be considered for compensation as most were infected during the training in the first week of April.
“We are waiting for the government to redefine ‘election duty’ and based on the same, we would decide our future course of action,” said Tiwari, who had earlier warned of a statewide strike if the government did not amend guidelines to accommodate all who were infected on poll duty and died.
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