Over 11,000 contract employees of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) did not have the insurance cover that regular civic staff enjoy for their efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
The ruling BJP in the civic body has now demanded insurance cover for contractual staff and job to kin in case of death of an employee due to infection.
The contract employees are appointed as helpers in civic hospitals, crematorium, burial ground, security guards, drivers of civic vehicles, housekeeping, community coordinator in door-to-door survey, among others. They are paid monthly through their respective contractors, with no direct liability to civic body.
The PMC has provided a life insurance cover to regular civic staff engaged in implementation of containment plan to check the spread of COVID-19 in the civic jurisdiction. The Centre has also extended the Prime Minister Insurance Scheme for Health Workers fighting COVID-19, taking the total cover to Rs 1 crore.
According to the civic administration, the PM insurance scheme is applicable to all those working in hospitals. “Thus, the contract employees working in civic hospitals will be covered under the PM insurance scheme, but those working outside hospitals don’t have the same,” said a civic body official.
Dheeraj Ghate, leader of the house in PMC and BJP leader, said the contract employees who handle dead bodies of COVID-19 patients, helpers in civic hospitals, drivers on contract transporting patients and dead bodies, drivers on allotted vehicles to civic officers and office bearers, all contractual staff deputed for various works at quarantine and isolation centers, rag pickers involved in door-to-door waste collection are at a risk.
“The contractual staff are performing their duties while putting their lives at a risk. They should also be taken care of as they too are coming in contact with infected persons,” Ghate said.
The BJP leader also pointed out that the contractual staff have not received their salaries for the last few months.
“There are around 4,000 civic staff working on contract in PMC. The civic body pays the amount to contractor, who has to pay salary to the staff. However, the contractor has not paid them salary for the last few months,” Ghate said, urging the PMC to direct the contractors to pay the dues to contract employees.
Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said the issues related to the contract staff were important and would be resolved soon.
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