A-52-year-old Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) staffer, who was suffering from Covid-19, died on Sunday, becoming the sixth person in the civic body to succumb to the virus. Following his death, a BMC workers’ union has demanded a comprehensive study on how many civic staffers have been infected till date.
The deceased, a resident of Baiganwadi in Mumbai’s Govandi – a hotspot – was working as a peon at BMC’s development plan department. She had on April 30 stopped coming to office, where she fell ill. She went on to test positive early May. As her condition worsened, she was admitted to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar on May 5.
“She was a peon at the eastern suburbs section of the department. All staffers who had come in her contact with her have been asked to self-quarantine,” said an official. It is yet to be found from where she contracted the infection.
Another BMC staffer, posted in the operation theatre of Shatabdi Hospital in Govandi, had succumbed to Covid-19 last week. “A pregnant woman, who was admitted to the hospital, was later found to have been infected. It is suspected that he had contracted the infection from her,” said the official.
The first BMC employee to have succumbed to the virus was an assessment inspector, who was posted at Dharavi and was handling food distribution work. According to the Municipal Engineers Union, three other BMC staffers — a wireman, a motor loader and a rent collector — had also died due to Covid-19, which they contracted while being on duty.
This comes amid several BMC employees complaining that stress due to being on round-the-clock duty for the last two months is taking a toll on them. Seeking that the employees be put on rotational duty, a BMC engineer said: “We are exhausted by working 24 hours in wards and isolation centres. The staffers should be rotated… We are not saying we don’t want to do Covid-19 related work, but if there is rotation of staffers, it will help us. Also, the chances of the employees contracting the virus will be less.”
When contacted, Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “We have instructed the in charge of hospitals as well as medical superintendents and deans to implement rotational duty for the staff. They have started the system of giving the employees a break from continuous work.”
Demanding details on how many BMC staffers have been infected so far, Sainath Rajyadhayksha of Municipal Engineers Union said: “At least six engineering staffers from BMC, deployed on various Covid-19 related duties, have tested positive. Why is BMC hiding data on how many staffers have been infected? Mumbai Police and BEST share details of staffers who are infected, die and also recover but BMC is trying to suppress facts.”
When asked, Kakani said, “Very few BMC staffers are infected.”
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