Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami Wednesday announced ex gratia payment of Rs 50 lakh to the kin of frontline personnel who die during COVID-19 duty, a decision that came in the wake of the controversy over the burial of a Chennai neurosurgeon and a protest by city doctors demanding better facilities.
Palaniswami said it was the duty of the state government to show gratitude towards health workers, and promised a safe and dignified system for burying those who die of the coronavirus.
Frontline workers from different departments such as health, police, local administration and sanitation, will be eligible for the solatium if they die due to the virus. “A family member will also be provided with a government job based on their qualification,” Palaniswami said. The earlier ex gratia sum was Rs 10 lakh.
On Sunday, the family of the neurosurgeon—who ran a private hospital in the city and died of COVID-19—was attacked when they tried to bury him. The AIADMK government copped criticism from opposition parties and the medical fraternity over the lack of coordination between the police and the Health Department that led to the ugly episode.
Also, a protest call by resident doctors of Chennai’s Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital—who threatened to abstain from duty on Wednesday if not given a better quarantine facility—left the government firefighting more controversy. The protest was withdrawn after the hospital arranged hotel rooms for them.
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