Power Sector Staff Demand Warrior Status Due To 18 Deaths Due To Covid-19

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The Nikhila Odisha Bidyut Shramika Mahasangha has urged the State government to declare the employees of the power utilities as Covid warriors as recently 18 employees have lost their lives due to the Covid-19 infection and around 1,800 staff tested positive.

Earlier the government announced in April to continue its earlier policy of providing ex gratia of Rs 50 lakh if a Covid warrior dies while on duty, but, the scheme does not apply to power sector employees who are most vulnerable,

Akshaya Tripathy, Mahasangha general secretary stated that the power sector is an essential service, there is absolutely no scope to reduce the field staff strength and most particularly during the summer season when power trips frequently. The linesmen, electrical engineers and bill collectors are most vulnerable because of their nature of the job. Several representations to the government for declaring electrical employees as Covid warriors have gone unnoticed.

According to the Energy Department, the number of Covid-affected persons in the power generation, distribution and transmission sector was 70 by April 15. While the count was 195 on April 23, the number went up to 424 on May 1. There was a sudden spike and the number of positive cases jumped to 588 in the next week. The total corona cases were 1,277 as of May 7 with a casualty of 15.

The Western Odisha Distribution Ltd of Tata Power witnessed 557 Covid positive cases and two deaths. But the casualty was high with 4 deaths reported from Tata Power’s southern distribution division and the number of active cases is 98.

In the North Odisha distribution division of Tata Power, 113 staff have tested positive with two casualties. Three infected employees of the Odisha Hydro Power Corporation have lost their lives and one each from Odisha Power Generation Corporation and Odisha Power Transmission Ltd succumbed to the virus.

In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, president of Swedish Electricians’ Union Jonas Wallin has requested to declare all electricity workers as Covid warriors and pay exgratia of Rs 50 lakh to those who die in the line of duty.

Image Source – Google

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