A total of 132 employees of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have succumbed to COVID-19, the civic body informed. So far, 2,588 employees have contracted the virus, of which nearly 1,300 (50.23 per cent) have recovered.
The mortality rate among civic employees is 5.1 per cent. Ramakant Bane, the general secretary of BrihanMumbai Municipal Employees Union, attributed the high fatality rate to the late reporting of cases. “The high death rate among BMC employees is owing to the late reporting of cases at the time when the civic body was not allowing anyone to get tested until they had developed symptoms and a doctor’s prescription was also must. Many had to run from pillar to post to even get a hospital bed. On many occasions, these employees were even returned from hospitals. Things are better now. However, the damage is already done,” Bane said.
Bane, who has been following up with the administration for compensation to the families of employees who have succumbed to COVID-19 on the line of duty, has said that families of hardly six to seven of those who passed away have managed to get the compensation.
Bane said that the compensation amount for the family of deceased staffers should be released soon to their families. “The compensation of Rs 50 lakh promised by BMC to the families of civic employees who succumbed to COVID-19 should be expedited, as there is a lot of red tapism in releasing the money. Also, the kin of the deceased should be given jobs as per their qualification without any delay. So far, only six to seven families have got their compensation,” he added.
According to the BMC officials, most employees who tested positive for COVID-19 are from the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Department and Health Department, including many staffers who worked at the ward level. “These are frontline staff who come directly in contact with COVID-19 patients, work at containment zones and have been assigned field work,” a BMC official said.
Of the 132 who have succumbed to the virus, 107 are class four employees. According to the official, BMC is taking several measures to prevent the spread of the virus among its employees. “Employees are strictly not allowed to gather in large numbers in corridors or outside the BMC headquarters, canteen or even in ward offices. There are sanitisers at every entry point of the building. Many wards at their level have installed foot-operated lifts, elevators and sensor-based taps in toilets. However, there can be many other sources of infections too. All we can do is stay alert and maintain hygiene," the official added.