Around 1,500 community health volunteers (CHVs) working with BMC, who are deployed in the eastern suburbs, are yet to receive their salary for the month of June.
Following the delay, the Mahapalika Arogya Seva Karmachari Sangathna, the union for these volunteers, has approached Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal for help.
CHVs are the backbone of the civic body’s fight against Covid-19. Contact tracing of positive patients, screening of people in slums, quarantining the infected and their high-risk contacts, all are done by CHVs. Despite their crucial role, they are paid a only Rs 9,000 every month. Till April, it was Rs 5,000.
From Sion to Mulund, there are 71 health posts in eastern suburbs. Across Mumbai, around 4,000 CHVs are working on 202 health posts.
The CHVs said that since the last two months, they are not getting their salary on time. “Till April, we used to receive our salary by the first week of the month. But since the last two months, there is no fixed date and we are paid after the 15th of month,” said Shobha Ahire, a CHV from Ghatkopar.
“When we inquired about the delay, we were told that since our attendance records were not sent on time from the local health posts, the salary could not be processed on time,” she added.
Following complaints, the union has demanded immediate release of the salary. “The civic body pays these workers Rs 9,000 per month and at the same time, newly hired contract workers get Rs 20,000. This is nothing but exploitation. All ground level works for Covid-19 containment are being done by these workers. The administration should at least ensure that they are paid on time,” said Prakash Devdas, president of the union.
Currently, the CHVs are also paid Rs 300 per day additional allowance as part of appreciation for Covid-19 duty.
The union has also alleged that with BMC labeling CHVs as contractors, they are facing a deduction of 7.5 per cent GST from their salary.
“Last year, the Bombay High Court had directed BMC to increase the remuneration of health workers and treat them as employees. But the
BMC, since May, has categorised them as contractors. This is contempt of court, we will move a petition against it,” said Devdas.
When contacted, Executive Health Officer Dr Mangala Gomare said: “We will look into the matter.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines