Bhubaneswar: At a time when frontline Covid warriors such as sanitation workers are being tested positive for the virus, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to step up testing for rapid identification and control of infection.
Out of the 3,075 ‘Safaikarmacharis’ (sanitation workers) deployed in garbage collection and sanitisation activities under the BMC, seven have been tested positive so far. While the civic body directly manages cleaning activities in 10 wards across the city, the remaining 57 wards are divided among three private sanitation agencies, Jagruti, PMR and Ramky.
“While six staffers of Ramky were tested Covid-19 positive, one from Jagruti has contracted the virus. However, no sanitation worker either from BMC-managed wards or PMR has tested positive so far. Moreover, while 2,152 have undergone tests, others will join the testing camps in their respective zones in coming days,” said BMC Commissioner, Prem Chandra Chaudhary.
As per BMC sources, while 615 sanitation workers are engaged under PMR, 715 are deployed with Ramky and 1,150 under Jagruti. While PMR manages sanitation in 14 wards, Ramky manages it in 15 and Jagruti in 28 wards.
“The sanitation or supervising staff, who have tested positive for the virus, were asked to undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine, but their salaries were credited as part of a goodwill gesture as they are also doing a Herculean task of keeping our environment clean during the pandemic,” Chaudhary added.
He added that in a bid to sensitise the sanitation about Covid-19, the BMC, in association with Unicef and CORE, a social service organisation, has organised ward-wise capacity building camps.