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Job for kin of deceased Covid-19 workers

Employment offer to boost morale of government staff on pandemic duty: Minister
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the pathogen had already claimed the lives of 12 Covid-19 frontline workers in the state

Pranesh Sarkar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 16.07.20, 02:28 AM

The Bengal cabinet on Wednesday approved a policy to offer jobs to the next of kin of state government employees who die from Covid-19 while on duty to fight the spread of the disease. 

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the pathogen had already claimed the lives of 12 Covid-19 frontline workers in the state.

“The state cabinet has decided to give a job to one of the family members in case any Covid warrior dies while fighting to contain the spread of the disease,” Mamata said at Nabanna after the cabinet meeting.

A minister said the decision had been taken to boost the morale of frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and police personnel.

“They are working hard to contain the spread of the disease. The government wanted to assure them that the entire administration would stand by their families in case anything untoward happens,” said a minister.

The state government had already announced an insurance scheme under which Rs 10 lakh would be given to the family members if a Covid-19 frontline worker died from the disease. If any frontline worker gets infected with the novel coronavirus, he or she would get Rs 1 lakh under the scheme.

The chief minister said 415 government employees had been afflicted with the coronavirus so far while at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic in the state.

“Of them, 403 have recovered and resumed their services. Unfortunately, 12 of them have died,” she added.

Mamata said families of all the deceased frontline workers had received Rs 10 lakh each and 284 employees, who had been inflicted with the virus but survived, were paid Rs 1 lakh each.

Remaining 119 employees would get Rs 1 lakh each soon as their cases have already been processed.

A section of officials said the state government had been forced to take the initiative after the BJP had questioned Bengal’s decision to not join the Centre’s insurance scheme for 22 lakh frontline workers. The next of kin would be paid Rs 50 lakh if a Covid-19 frontline worker dies from the disease under the central scheme.

“We did what was possible for us. Moreover, the Centre’s scheme is only for health workers but we have extended the facility to all those who are fighting to contain the disease,” said a minister.

Mamata gave all Covid-19 frontline workers medals and certificates acknowledging their efforts during the pandemic.

She asked chief secretary Rajiva Sinha to provide the medals and the certificates to doctors of private hospitals also in recognition of their fight against the pandemic.

Irrigation project

The state cabinet also approved a scheme of Rs 1,500 crore to bring 1.25 lakh hectares of agricultural land under irrigation network. Sources said the irrigation network would be developed based on minor irrigation systems like local water bodies.

The state has a total of 45 lakh hectares of agricultural land but a large portion of it could not be cultivated in winter because of unavailability of irrigation facilities.

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