Frontline conservancy workers in the city, who are risking their lives while keeping clean the houses of those staying safe at home to contain the spread of coronavirus, are hoping for some protective cover for their lives.
As the pandemic intensifies, they hope to avail of the life insurance cover announced by the Centre for Covid frontliners under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package on March 26 at the earliest.
The 90-day coverage, which will expire in June, has already seen much delay in the documentation process.
“We have submitted our documents for Covid life insurance coverage but we are not sure when we will be covered by it,” a Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) conservancy worker told The Telegraph.
GMC officials said they were facing problems in the processing of documents and were waiting for the New India Assurance Company to brief them on implementation of the Covid coverage.
“As all our NGOs and their staff are extremely busy in providing Covid emergency essential services, we have not received all their data for insurance coverage. But we have all the data base of our own workers ready. Hopefully, by tomorrow, we will be able to sort out all the problems,” a GMC official said, adding they were keen to include the NGO conservancy workers in the insurance coverage and had taken their documents also.
The GMC has 1,100 conservancy workers, engaged in cleaning the streets directly under it and around 500 workers, engaged in door-to-door collection of garbage, of empanelled NGOs working under it.
The regular workers of the NGOs, whose primary work is door-to-door collection, have at present been given the additional duty of combating the Covid pandemic. After their primary work is over, these boys sanitise city households by spraying disinfectants on residential entrance gates, iron railings, door handles and private garages in the city.
The NGOs working under the GMC have also outsourced about 35 cleaners and sweepers to work at the Sarusajai quarantine facility. They do various tasks like distributing meals and collecting leftovers, sanitising the centre, cleaning toilets and even emesis.
“The boys are well-trained on safety procedures and given full protective gear. We have informed them about the risk involved but they are dedicatedly doing the job. They know that if they do not work, nobody will. They are as important as the doctors and paramedics here,” a source in the health department said.
“If the cleaning staff develop symptoms, they have to be isolated. Are they not taking a huge risk for humanity? We hope that all these boys (outsourced) and our regular staff get the insurance coverage at the earliest,” said the founder of an NGO working under GMC.