Uttar Pradesh Primary Teachers Association has written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath demanding that Rs.1 crore be provided as compensation to the dependents of every teacher and staff worker who died during the recently held local body elections in Uttar Pradesh.
In a letter dated May 16, 2021, the UPTA listed as many as 1,621 of its members who died after contracting Covid or due to other serious ailments while on election duty between April and May. This list, not only points towards administrative apathy, but also vehemently rejects the government data as per which only three teachers died between April 12 to May 16 after being on election duty.
SabrangIndia had previously reported how several teachers and Shiksha Mitras had died after serving at polling stations. The Union had published a list of 706 deaths on April 29. Two days later, the union reported 300 Covid-infected members, and questioned the state government’s rational in not delaying the counting. Now, the new list includes people with heart diseases who died due to tension and heart attack.
“The number that was only 706 deaths in the third phase of the election shot up to 1,600 deaths during the fourth phase. It is worrying that despite such suffering, basic teachers are still being harassed by the local administration,” said General Secretary Sanjay Singh in the letter.
On May 11, the Allahabad High Court directed the government to pay Rs. 1 crore to kin of polling officers who died due to the administration’s and the State Election Commission’s (SEC) negligence towards Covid-protocol. However, the UP government recently said it would only provide Rs. 30 lakh – a compensation that even the judges considered “very less”.
Of the total, 1,621 deaths, 1,181 were men while 440 were women. Geographically, the following regions lost their primary teachers and staff workers: Hardoi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Lucknow, Raebareli, Sitapur, Unnao, Azamgarh, Balliya, Mau, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Kushinagar, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Chandoli, Ayodhya, Barabanki, Sultanpur, Amethi, Ambedkarnagar, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Kanpur, Farukhabad, Kannauj, Etawah, Auraiya, Agra, Mainpuri, Mathura, Firozabad, Muradabad, Amroha, Bijnor, Rampur, Sambhal, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Bhadohi, Gonda, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Bareli, Shahjahanpur, Budaun, Pilibhit, Mareth, Bagpat, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bulandshahar, Hapur, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Aligarh, Kasganj, Etah, Hathras, Basti, Siddharthnagar, Santakbir nagar.
The Union demanded that dependents appearing for BTC, B.Ed, D.L. Ed, be given teachers’ posts while the rest are to be appointed as clerks. Moreover, the government should employ the pre-April-1-2005 pension system for the aggrieved families. Families of teachers who were 60 years or younger should get gratuity.
Singh also asked that members in Covid-Control rooms be released from duty. Earlier, teachers were assured work-from-home guidelines to carry out their work. However, majority of districts ignored these rules and called teachers and staff to crowded control rooms, further endangering their lives.
He also demanded that all deceased be declared Covid-warriors, and that the government help Covid-recovered teachers and staff with their medical fees. During court proceedings, the government had assured that High Court that infected teachers will not be forced to work. Yet sick teachers were called on the day of counting. To make matters worse, the union claimed that some of these teachers suffered a salary cut.
It may be mentioned that for all of the SEC’s eagerness to conduct polling, some candidates died of Covid-19 even before the results were declared. However, Adityanath’s attention seems to be turned towards the state’s cowsheds, directing gaushalas to be equipped with medical equipment such as oximeters and thermal scanners.
Courtesy: Sabrang India