Updated: March 31, 2021 7:43:02 pm
Industrial associations in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have demanded for setting up of vaccinations infrastructure in their areas for inoculation of their workers. With Pune reporting a huge number of cases and fatalities in the ongoing second wave of the infection, such facilities, industrial bodies said, would help in shouldering the load of the health system in vaccinating as many people as possible in a short time.
Pune district has been reporting more than 5,000 Covid cases on a daily basis, which has put a severe strain on the health infrastructure. With hospitals running out of beds, the spectre of another lockdown looms large over the district. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is set to take a final call on imposing another lockdown on Friday. The idea of another lockdown has met with stiff opposition from industrial and labour organisations alike. Such a scenario, they said, would result in untold misery and economic losses for them. A strong demand has gone up from industries to speed up vaccination.
Sandeep Belsare, president of Pimpri Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association said they had written to the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to set up special vaccination camps in the industrial areas of the township. “We had asked for setting up of vaccination centres at the ESIS hospital at Mohannagar and another one in the Bhosari industrial area,” he said. The association said they had worked out the logistics in terms of a schedule of how over 3 lakh workers would be sent up for vaccination. The industries are even ready to foot the bill for vaccines on behalf of their workers. “We had written to the civic body in the middle of March, but have had no reply yet,” he said.
Industrial workers are at double risk as they spend most of their time in working with metal spare parts, where the virus survives the longest. Thus, they can be potential spreaders of the virus in other residential areas. Abhay Bhor, president of the Forum for Small Scale Industries said the chain of transmission has to be broken here with vaccination of workers. Like Belsare, Bhor has taken up correspondence with the civic body for setting up of vaccination centres. “Industries are ready to spend their CSR funds for vaccination and we are ready to set up the necessary infrastructure,” he said.
Meanwhile Sudhir Mehta, president of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture, demanded for more transparency in vaccine allocation and stock of the vaccine. “In the PMC’s store, there is hardly any stock of the vaccine. The mystery of the Centre versus State tussle continues. Centre claims it has given stock, but we don’t have it at the local level. There must be a central dashboard pan-India, which indicates stock at all levels.This should be obvious, but is not there, at least publicly,” he said. Most companies, Mehta said, have their own health facilities and are ready to share their infrastructure for vaccination. All that is needed is unhindered supply and making the vaccine easily available. “The economic cost of vaccination is much lesser than testing or treatment of the disease. What we now need is a very aggressive and targeted vaccine roll-out,” he said.
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