2,487 employees of Delhi govt have tested Covid +ve since March, show records
A total of 2,487 employees of the Delhi government contracted the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease between March and October 13, of which 89 succumbed to the virus, government records show.
These figures were provided by the Delhi government’s state surveillance unit as a response to a right to information (RTI) application filed by this reporter. The reply also stated that the 2,487 employees who were infected included doctors and bureaucrats.
There are over 2.5 lakh employees and around 150 departments and agencies in the Delhi government. In its RTI response, the government, however, mentioned that it did not maintain category wise data of Covid-19 positive employees because of which it is unknown how many of them were IAS officers, DANICs officers, doctors or DASS cadre officers.
Among those who died of Covid-19 include 50-year old Hari Prasad, who was working as the assistant director in Delhi government’s education department when he contracted the infection.
“He was totally healthy and had no co-morbidities. But, just 3-4 days after he tested positive, we learnt that he died of Covid-19. It was shocking. Another officer, Rameshwar Singh, working in the government’s pay and account office also died of Covid-19 recently,” said Umesh Batra, general secretary of the Delhi Government Employees’ Welfare Association (DGEWA).
“But unfortunately, the city administration is not considering these cases for its compensation of Rs 1 crore. Their rule states that a person will get the ex-gratia amount only if one dies while on Covid-19 duty,” he said.
Following the deaths of these Delhi government officers, the association has also written to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office to consider even those who are not directly on Covid-19 duty and have succumbed to the virus for some form of compensation.
“In recent times, many officers/officials who are not directly attached with Covid duty have died due to contracting coronavirus while performing their duties in different departments/offices of Delhi government. In view of this, we would like to request you to extend Covid compensation to such officers as well,” read the letter sent by the association on September 23.
A senior Delhi government official said more than 1,000 officers have been deployed on duty by the Delhi disaster management authority (DDMA). They have been deployed at quarantine centres, hospitals, containment zones, law and order matters, logistic support to various organisations, airport duties, assistance to manufacturers of essential commodities, shelter homes and so on.
A senior official in the chief minister’s office said on May 2, Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev had appointed a state nodal welfare officer to provide all necessary help, including medical treatment and welfare, to Covid-19 positive officers of the Delhi government, its autonomous bodies, corporations and local bodies (municipal corporations).
“This was done after a lot of doctors, nurses of Delhi government hospitals, and civil defence volunteers had tested positive for Covid-19. Nikhil Kumar, the CEO of Delhi Jal Board was appointed as the nodal officer, under whom two dedicated hospitals and one exclusive testing centre for Delhi government officers who test positive for Covid-19 or are suspects and their families were identified,” said the officer.
“A staff welfare cell and a dedicated 24x7 helpline number under this cell were also opened for regular interaction with infected officers as well as their family members. The district magistrates provide details of officers found Covid-19 positive in their districts on a daily basis to the state nodal welfare officer,” the official added.