The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which has been at the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, has lost 25 of its staffers to the infection till now.Thought the PMC had assured compensation of Rs 1 crore for the family members of staffers who die of Covid-19, the actual process of providing the compensation has been stuck as it is yet to be approved by the civic general body.
The delay is traumatic for these families as, in many cases, the PMC staffer was the sole breadwinner of the family.
Till now, 498 civic staff have contracted the infection and 25 of them have lost their lives in the five-and-a-half months since the outbreak of the pandemic. Along with the compensation amount, the civic body had also promised Rs 50 lakh from a central government scheme, and either Rs 50 lakh or Rs 25 lakh and a job in the civic body for a family member of the staffer.
The compensation was announced as a measure to encourage civic staff, who were often reluctant to take up Covid-related duties such as providing medical and paramedical services to patients, conducting door-to-door surveys for identifying suspected patients, solid waste management collection and administrative responsibilities at Covid Care Centres.
“There have been a total of 25 deaths of civic staff, which include 23 permanent employees and two contractual employees. The process of compensating them is going on and help would be provided as early as possible,” said Shivaji Daundkar, in-charge of the civic Labour Welfare department. He added that while proposals to secure financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh from the Union government has been submitted to concerned government agencies, no proposals have been cleared so far.
Meanwhile, proposals of financial assistance from the PMC itself has been pending due to the delay in approval of the policy in the general body, said Daundkar, adding that the policy decision has been cleared in the standing committee and needs the final nod of the general body.
Explaining the delay in the process, Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said, “… The PMC has declared compensation of either Rs 50 lakh or Rs 25 lakh and a civic job to family members of the deceased. However, the proposal is pending in the general body as the normal functioning of the general body has been hit by the pandemic.”
Mohol conceded that the compensation from PMC should not be delayed. “Leaders from all parties have unanimously agreed in the coordination committee meeting to urge the civic administration to immediately provide financial assistance to the families of the deceased… there should not be further delay in giving compensation…,” he said.
Daundkar said he would convey the decision of the coordination committee to PMC Commissioner Vikram Kumar for further action.
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