COVID-19 pandemic

Water supply, sanitation workers on duty without protective gear

Water supply, sanitation workers  on duty without protective gear

Water supply workers perform duty without any protective gear.

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 3

Scores of water supply and sanitation workers have been working without safety kits. They demanded that the government must provide them with safety kits on a priority basis. They said they have been cleaning and supplying potable water without safety kits. With no protective gear, the threat of Covid spread looms large.

According to information, there are 6,000 regular and 4,000 contractual workers employed under the Water and Sanitation Department in the state. Besides, there are approximately 800 workers who have been attached with panchayats under various developmental schemes.

Malaghar Singh, vice-president, Technical and Mechanical Employees’ Union, said, “On one hand, the government claims that it has been taking all precautionary measures to check the Covid spread, while on the other hand its efforts seem to be half-hearted at the grassroots level. There are more than 10,000 employees and workers in the Water and Sanitation Department in the state and they were not provided with any safety gear by the government till now.”

“We have reached out to senior officials in the state government and brought the gravity of the situation in wake of Covid to their notice, but to no avail. While some employees have been managing things on their own, others have simply chosen to work without any protection gear. It is a dangerous scenario as only one infected worker can infect many if proper safety and precautionary measures were not practiced at the grassroots level,” he added.

“Leave aside providing us with protective gears, the government has even failed to provide curfew passes to all contractual workers till now. As a result, they have to face difficulties during their field work. Moreover, the department did not even issue identity cards to few of them,” he said.

Jaspreet Kaur Talwar, Principal Secretary, Water Supply and Sanitation Department, said, “It is not mandatory to provide safety kits to all workers and employees. Wherever these are required, we have been providing these to workers. It will take some time. Officials in all districts have been asked to maintain proper hygiene standards. Employees and workers are being apprised of these as well.”

Sanitation and water supply workers have also demanded that there must not be any salary cut, especially for class III and class IV employees.

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