A 36-YEAR-OLD man employed with Maharashtra Security Force (MSF) died of Covid-19 early on Tuesday, making it the first death to be recorded in the 9000-strong force. His death has led to anxiety amongst personnel, as they are neither eligible for medical cover nor compensation in case of death, according to government rules.
The MSF was created under the Maharashtra State Security Corporation on the recommendation of Ram Pradhan Committee formed after the 26/11 attack in Mumbai. The force was established on the lines of the Central Industrial Security Force and has the responsibility of providing security at 162 sensitive locations in the state, including several municipal hospitals treating people infected with Covid-19. The force, however, does not have a medical cover and is not eligible for compensation in case of death.
So far, 307 MSF personnel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while 267 have recovered out of them. As many as 39 personnel are undergoing treatment.
The personnel who died was working in the security force control room. He started feeling unwell in the last week of July, following which he went and got admitted to a private hospital. He was staying at Mankhurd and is survived by his wife and three children.
He was initially diagnosed with malaria and was moved to Sion Hospital for further treatment. After a few days of treatment, he underwent a Covid-19 test and the report showed he was positive.
“As soon as doctors started treating him for coronavirus, his health suddenly deteriorated early on August 4 and he died,” said an MSF personnel.
Another MSF personnel, on condition of anonymity, said the government or the corporation had neither provided medical aid or insurance nor declared any compensation for the families of those who died of Covid-19.
“We just get Rs 3,000 from the corporation once we test positive. The government has announced Rs 50 lakh compensation to cops’ families and another Rs 10 lakh has come from the Mumbai Police Foundation, but we have been doing as much a job as a policem personnel and have been neglected,” said an MSF personnel adding, “the one who died has three children; how will his wife take care of them without any money?”
Director General of Police D Kanakaratnam, who is heading the department, said, “We have sent a proposal seeking insurance and compensation. It is yet to be approved.”
Another IPS officer added, “We are trying to get approval of at least Rs 30 lakh compensation as soon as it gets sanctioned.”
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