BHOPAL: Even though essential commodities stores and medical stores staff, milk booth owners and vegetable suppliers worked during the corona lockdown, they have not been included as frontline workers (FLWs). Frontline workers (FLWs) comprise policemen, civic bodies’ staff and revenue department staff.
FLWs have to be vaccinated from February 8. Around 2.72 lakh people are FLWs in the state. If policemen, civic bodies’ staff and revenue department staff worked during the lockdown, why have other sectors — such as essential commodities stores and medical stores staff, milk booth owners and vegetable suppliers not been included in the list of FLWs? This group which was excluded expressed disappointment at the health department for ignoring them while drawing up the priority list for the vaccination programme.
‘No stone unturned’
"BMC listed over 10,000 staff, including contractual workers, sanitation workers and others, as FLWs for the corona vaccination. BMC isn’t leaving any stone unturned to ensure proper vaccination for its staff so that they can work free of tension at the frontlines in implementing corona guidelines. Such staff should have immunity against coronavirus," remarked KVS Chaudhary, BMC commissioner.
"Medical store staff worked during the lockdown and they distributed medicines. So, definitely, all the staff of medical stores should be included as FLWs. Secondly, ward-wise vaccination would have been a better choice for the government. As during pulse polio vaccination, the government should organise the corona vaccination programme so that all the people at the ward level are vaccinated," Daya Shankar, Shankar Medical Store, No. 10 Market, said.
‘Grocery shop staff FLWs’
"Grocery shop owners and workers should also be included as FLWs as they, too, worked during the lockdown to ensure availability of grocery items and other essential commodities. Other traders would receive doses of corona vaccine in the last phase, but grocery shop staff should definitely be included as FLWs for the vaccination programme on priority basis," Ajay Dewnani, general secretary, New Market Businessmen’s Association, remarked.
‘Lapse of the government’
"BMC doesn’t have a record of workers whom it deployed in cantonment areas, such as sanitation workers ( daily-wagers), and they have not been included as FLWs. Even vehicle staff hired during the lockdown, such as drivers and cleaners, have not been included in the list of FLWs. It’s lapse on the part of the government. In fact, the government wants government officials to be vaccinated first, so it’s very selective," Pravin Dholpure, general secretary, Public Transport Asssociation, said.