Residents question Mayor’s appeal to raise funds for workers on Covid duty

Say compensating contractual staff appropriately is duty of the govt

Residents question Mayor’s appeal to raise funds for workers on Covid duty

Residents have raised eyebrows over Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Kumar Sharma’s move to exhort people to donate money for contractual multitask workers at Covid wards of the Government Rajindra Hospital. - File photo

Ravneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16

Residents have raised eyebrows over Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Kumar Sharma’s move to exhort people to donate money for contractual multitask workers at Covid wards of the Government Rajindra Hospital.

Residents say it was the state government’s duty to ensure funds for employees from the collected tax money.

Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Mayor

Workers are appointed on daily wages. No pay has been fixed for them in the pandemic as the situation is unprecedented. The government doesn’t have a procedure to increase their pay. If it does, it will have to raise the pay of all employees.

The Mayor, accompanied by representatives of NGOs and Municipal Councillors, recently said: “The Punjab Government could not go beyond the purview of the law and increase the salaries of multitask workers. That is why, the decision to provide financial assistance to the workers caring for Covid patients through social organisations has been taken.”

While talking to the media and in a Facebook post, he later appealed to people to donate money for the workers.

In an online post today, he said an NGO has decided to donate Rs3,000 each for 20 such workers for three months.

The Mayor, along with NGOs, has decided to raise Rs3,000 every month for 300 contractual workers each. The workers are currently being paid Rs8,000 per month as per the government rates.

Meanwhile, residents questioned the move stating they were themselves out of business and the government should provide enough money to pay the workers.

A resident said: “Why donate? People pay taxes to the state government. It’s the government’s duty to pay them a proper amount…Where’s the tax money? Or was all of it spent on needless interlocking tiles?”

Another resident questioned: “If payment for employees is to be collected from general public, then what is the government doing?”

Meanwhile, Mayor Sanjeev Sharma said: “Workers are appointed on daily wages. No pay has been fixed for workers in the pandemic as the situation was unprecedented. The government doesn’t have a procedure to increase their pay. If it does, it will have to increase the pay of all employees.”

The Mayor accused the media of painting a negative picture of the government.

He also pointed out: “Our country is not rich. We can’t run everything with the tax money. We are trying to do as much as we can.” He said we had raised a demand to the state Health Minister for increasing the pay of contractual workers dealing with L3 patients.

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