BHOPAL: A special vaccination drive for power employees is likely to begin soon in Madhya Pradesh after Union power secretary Alok Kumar’s letter to the chief secretary. The Union secretary has requested chief secretaries of all states to arrange for—and facilitate—a special vaccination drive on a priority basis for all those working for power utilities, including those working on contract basis.
Employees of the power department are working round the clock to ensure uninterrupted power supply and their safety should be ensured, Kumar said. The Union power secretary has suggested that it could be done by organising mass vaccination camps at appropriate locations to cover all the personnel working for power utilities to protect them from getting infected with the virus.
Earlier, the All-India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF), a national-level body representing power engineers, had written to the Union government to treat electricity employees as frontline workers as they were working round the clock during the pandemic and maintaining uninterrupted power supply.
In its letter, the AIPEF brought to the Centre’s notice that thousands of power sector employees were already affected with Covid and hundreds of them had already succumbed to the virus. The present surge in Covid would require uninterrupted power supply to the hospitals, isolation centres, oxygen-producing units and other facilities linked to the treatment of Covid patients.
A senior official of the power company said that the proposal had been sent to the health department and the drive would begin soon. “A large number of power employees has been vaccinated at the camps nearby, but, still, a special drive will be carried out to cover everyone,” said the official.
Considering the advice given by the Union government, the state government should immediately organise vaccination camps for all the employees of the power department, including regular, contract and outsourced. This would ensure uninterrupted supply of power at this time of calamity, said a retired chief engineer of the Madhya Pradesh Power Generating Company, Rajendra Agarwal.
More than 2,000 members of the staff of the Central Zone Power Discom are corona-infected, whereas more than 50 from across the state—including 16 from the central zone—have succumbed to the deadly virus.
Staff members of the Central Discom say that, if they had been included in the category of frontline warriors, such as the police and so forth, the death toll and infection numbers would have been comparatively lower.
However, the energy department has started a scheme under which an advance of Rs 70,000-Rs 3 lakh could be availed of by the employees, including contract and outsourced members.