All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) on Friday said as many as 1,000 power sector employees have succumbed to COVID-19 and more than 15,000 have been infected from the virus. In Maharashtra, a total of more than 7,100 power employees are COVID positive and about 210 have died. While, in Uttar Pradesh, more than 4,000 power sector employees are suffering from coronavirus and there have been 140 casualties. “Amid a record surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, around 1,000 employees working in the power sector have died and more than 15,000 employees have tested positive for the virus,” AIPEF Spokesperson V K Gupta said in a statement.
In the list of casualties, there are at least three chief engineers (2 from Uttar Pradesh and 1 from Haryana), and more than two dozen superintending engineers including nine from Uttar Pradesh, it said. In Haryana, 20 employees have died and 900 employees are affected by a coronavirus. In Punjab, 700 employees are bedridden with coronavirus and there are about 20 casualties, it said. AIPEF has written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Power Minister R K Singh requesting all the states be directed to hold mass vaccination camps to cover electricity personnel on top priority basis and be treated as front-line workers. On the directive of the union power ministry, the central power sector utilities like NTPC and PowerGrid have already started exclusive vaccination camps for their employees and families.
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AIPEF has also urged all the chief ministers to urgently direct the state health authorities to treat power sector employees as frontline workers and they should be given priority in vaccination. The union power secretary in his letter to all the chief secretaries and power secretaries has acknowledged the role of electricity personnel in maintaining power supply and directing that every state should hold mass vaccination camps to cover the electricity personnel on top priority. The federation has written to the Ministry of power and all state governments asking for a compensation of Rs 50 lakh for every employee who dies of coronavirus.