Berhampur: Apart from the COVID-19 positive cases, which are increasing at an alarming rate, a number of frontline workers including teachers in Ganjam district have fallen to the coronavirus. As per reports, 11 teachers in the district have died of COVID-19 so far which has now emerged as a major concern.
What is more surprising is that ‘Covid Warrior’ status is yet to be bestowed on the teachers. Despite several teachers losing battle against COVID-19, no financial assistance has been declared by Odisha government for the bereaved families, alleged teachers’ association.
Sidhart Shankar Padhi, a teacher from Chadheyapalli of Aska block in the district had reportedly died of COVID-19 last month. Padhi was posted on COVID duty at a quarantine centre and it is alleged that his family is yet to get government assistance even.
“Government is declaring many as Covid warriors but nobody is coming forward to help. If government helps or rehabilitates me as per my educational qualification, I can be able to look after my family,” said Mamta Sahu, wife of Padhi.
Krushna Chandra Sethi, who was engaged in a quarantine facility and also COVID-19 survey, reportedly died of coronavirus infection on July 18. Leave alone government assistance, he has not received salary for the last two months, alleged Sethi’s wife. “I do not know what to do as my husband’s salary is pending for last two months. It is difficult for me to look after my children,” said Sethi’s wife, Bharati.
Such incidents are not confined to these two cases in Ganjam district. Several other families are also struggling to meet their ends meet after losing their loved ones to COVID-19 in the district.
The teachers, who are on the forefront of the Covid-19 fight since day one, are yet get Covid Warrior tag by the government. Teachers should be declared as COVID-19 warriors and be insured for Rs 50 lakh which is now being provided to other health workers in the State, demanded Nikhil Odisha Teachers’ Association.
“Teachers, who are engaged in COVID duty, should be declared as Covid warrior and the government should provide a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the family of those teachers who die of COVID-19,” said Prakash Mohanty, OSSTA general secretary.
Meanwhile, Ganjam Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said efforts are on to provide required assistance to those who lose their lives on the line of duty.
“Documents related to the matter have already been submitted for the settlement of claims after necessary verification. All benefits will be provided to the next of kin of the deceased,” said Kulange.