Updated: April 29, 2021 7:54:01 pm
As many as 230 employees and engineers working with the three state-run power companies — Mahagenco, Mahatransco and Mahadiscom — have died of Covid-19 in the last one year.
Outlining their helplessness in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and state Energy Minister Nitin Raut, the Subordinate Engineers Association, representing 12,000 engineers, has demanded that employees working in the power sector should be considered as frontline workers so that they can get priority in treatment and vaccination.
Kedar Relekar, president, Subordinate Engineers Association, told The Indian Express on Thursday, “Energy Minister Nitinji Raut and Minister of State for Energy Prajakt Tanpure have taken concrete steps to recognise power engineers and other employees as frontline workers. However, the final decision has not been announced so far. In the current scenario, in the absence of such recognition, power engineers and other staff have to face huge hurdles to get vaccinated and to get immediate treatment in the hospital. ”
Relekar said, “From March 2020, from the first day of the first lockdown till today, except for minor incidents, power supply in the entire state has been uninterrupted. Engineers and employees of all the three leading energy companies in the state are making endless efforts to maintain 24 x 7 power supply… for hospitals, oxygen companies, establishments, TV channels and water supply, regardless of the pandemic. While doing this, many engineers and staff have been infected, some have even lost their dear ones, and hundreds have died. Unfortunately, this fact has not been reviewed or even mentioned in social media or in newspapers. Due to spread of misinformation by some elements, some power engineers and employees have faced the wrath of the general public, in some places even inhuman beatings have taken place.”
Relekar said they have appealed to all sections of society, including to officers in the state government, to look after power engineers and staff in a humane manner, and to try to provide immediate treatment to the affected engineers and their families.
“Priority should be given to them. The general public should keep in mind that any power engineer or staff is working as per the directives given by the higher authority or management of the company”.
In its letter, the Association said , “It is important for all of us to be aware that if the power engineers and staff continue to suffer from Covid-19, the power supply can definitely be affected.”
“The time to come is a very difficult, we all shall work shoulder to shoulder with each other. All the engineers and employees of the power company have been working in the same manner till date, the expectation is that the general public and all sections of the society should also stand firmly behind them …. this is a humble request,” it said.
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