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Workers in Pimpri-Chinchwad’s small and medium-scale industries fall between the cracks when it comes to vaccination

While big companies have tied up with private hospitals to inoculate employees, small firms can’t afford it; nor can the workers take time off work to wait in queues to get vaccinated.

Written by Partha Sarathi Biswas | Pune |
August 14, 2021 12:00:50 pm
The municipal body has vaccinated around 12 lakh people, but around 2-3 lakh of them are not even residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad. (Express Photo)

Even as the government is gradually lifting Covid curbs across the state, demands for a dedicated vaccination centre to cater to workers in small and medium-scale industries are yet to be met. Internal surveys point out that around 70 per cent of industrial employees are yet to get even the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccine.

Pimpri-Chinchwad employs around 4-5 lakh people in various such industries and they have long been seeking a special vaccination centre.

President of the Forum of Small-Scale Industries Association Abhay Bhor said their demands in this regard have fallen on deaf ears. “Vaccination centres that have come up in the industrial area are not for our workers. For them to stand in queue and wait isn’t possible,” he said. The rush in these centres also mean that most employees would have to take a day’s leave to get vaccinated.

While bigger companies have tied up with private hospitals to vaccinate employees, small and medium-scale firms have been left behind. The price of Rs 780 per dose would be a major financial burden for them, small companies point out.

Bhor and other small-scale industrialists had recently approached the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to press for a walk-in centre exclusively for their employees. “We had assured the municipal commissioner that the companies would provide all the facilities and give a list of employees. If such a facility is provided, all employees can be vaccinated in just two months,” he said.

However, the commissioner pointed out that the civic body is vaccinating people only through a system of tokens and the same would be used for the employees, which means that they would still need to wait in queues for a shot.

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The municipal body has vaccinated around 12 lakh people, but around 2-3 lakh of them are not even residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad, Bhor said, underlining the need to prioritise local industrial workers.

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