Health department employees allege they are being overworked

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The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) health department employees are upset due to overworking in the allotted Covid duties and conducting Swaccha Bharat surveys.

Employees are tasked with handling critical duties like looking after Covid testing and centres, contact tracing, handling containment zones, taking action against those not wearing masks, and with the additional duty to conduct surveys for the Swaccha Bharat programme.

Most of the staffers are tight-lipped and expressed their resentment in private to their superiors and public representatives.

Currently, Covid-19 related work consumes between 10-12 hours of each of the staffers from top to bottom. The decision to entrust the health department staffers with the survey work will consume an additional three to four hours.

Besides, they have another mandatory responsibility for cleaning and lifting garbage from different points the next day.

The staffers play an important role in treating the newly infected patients including that of assisting family members in cremation.

At this critical juncture, a vigilante squad of Swaccha Bharat Abhiyan competition already exists in the city. The squad carries surprise visits to any corner of the city where it checks the scale of cleanliness and performance of the health department. There are nearly 300 compliance points and currently, the health department staffers are facing the heat in fulfilling and completing the compliances.

A ground staffer said “We are mostly occupied with Covid-19 duty for the entire day and it is tiring. We should not be overburdened as we need relief from our heavy duties. It will be around 14 hours that we are working at a stretch and it will impact our health.”

A health department official said that staffers working around the clock for Covid-19 duty are being forced to work for the Swaccha Bharat Abhiyan which according to him has become taxing, cumbersome and tiring job.

“We are already working for 12 hours and additional hours for the survey are being required from us. We are in a difficult situation as we already are on the frontline in our Covid-19 work. We request the authorities to relieve us of our suffering and ensure that our rights are protected,” he said.

PMC health department chief Dr Ashish Bharti could not be reached for a comment

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