Bengaluru: 2,000 Covid warriors have not been paid for three months | Bengaluru News – Times of India


When some volunteers approached a joint commissioner to press for their salaries, they were reportedly told there was no money to pay them.

BENGALURU: Many Covid-19 warriors who had led the battle against the pandemic are now running from pillar to post to get their salaries.
Around 2,000 community health volunteers working with BBMP in different zones are yet to receive salaries for the past three months. A tweet posted by some volunteers reads, ‘From Covid warriors to Covid Beggars’.
These volunteers were the backbone of the civic body’s fight against the pandemic in the city, especially when cases were peaking. They helped trace positive patients and their contacts, screened people in slums and isolated and quarantined the infected and their high-risk contacts. These volunteers were assured a pay of Rs 18,000 a month.
The volunteers were recruited when most people were confined to their homes and there was a severe shortage of manpower in the BBMP and other government departments involved in the battle against the virus. Now, none of them have been paid.
“Our salaries have not been distributed so far,” one volunteer said. “We worked round the clock when the pandemic was at its peak. We worked when even doctors gave up. The government should consider our plight and ensure we are paid soon.”
Another volunteer said, “I joined as a volunteer after I lost my job. I desperately wanted to pay my son’s fees. But now I think it was a mistake.”
While many volunteers have quit because of the delay, others, while continuing to work, are living on borrowings. What is worse, BBMP officials appear to have completely forgotten the lionhearted services of these volunteers, without whose support the fight against the pandemic would have collapsed.
When some volunteers approached a joint commissioner to press for their salaries, they were reportedly told there was no money to pay them. “You are all volunteers. Therefore you shouldn’t expect any money,” the joint commissioner is believed to have told the delegation.
Volunteers had also approached ministers seeking their intervention, but nothing concrete has transpired yet. A senior official of the health department said: “Salaries in the city limits are being handled by the BBMP finance team and they will be paid from BBMP funds. We do not oversee this.”
BBMP officials promised to pay their salaries soon. “Yes, there is a delay, but the process to pay them is on and they will get their wages soon,” an official said.
This has not come to my notice. I will look into it.

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Sagar Biswas

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