As the state's COVID-19 count crossed the 2.5 lakh mark on Sunday, many frontline workers are among the victims who have fallen prey to the deadly virus. According to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) data, as many as 2,198 employees have tested positive for the virus so far, of which 103 have succumbed to it.
The civic employee union has alleged that the civic body is not taking any concrete action to safeguard its frontline workers from falling prey to COVID-19. The municipal union's general secretary Ramakant Bane said, "Mostly class IV and class III staff have been infected. This includes solid waste management workers, fire brigade staff and health workers who have to travel to work in crowded buses and now in trains. Besides this, the civic body had last week restarted the biometric attendance system, which was discontinued after the pandemic hit the city, as it could have become a source for the spread of the virus. It is still risky," said Bane.
The municipal employees union has opposed this move.
Bane added, "State government employees are getting all kinds of relaxation and support. On the other hand, BMC workers, who have been working day and night on the ground to ensure the safety of the citizens during the pandemic, are left to suffer and die. Only 10 per cent attendance is compulsory for state government employees. However, it is 100 per cent for civic employees. Why this disparity?"
Bane also cited an example of 47-year-old Surendra Khandagale of the civic licence department. He said, "Khandagale's health was deteriorating and he was shifted from one hospital to another before he finally died last month. We hope his kin does not have to run around for the compensation."
A senior civic official said, "Of the total 2,198 employees who were tested positive, 1,150 have already recovered and have got back to work. We do respect and feel bad for the 103 frontline warriors we lost. We have announced a compensation of 50 lakhs for them. They have applied and will be paid phase-wise."