After Nearly 400 Covid Deaths, Coal India Asks Government For Vaccines

It has written to government officials requesting about 1 million doses be made available for staff and their family members.

After the deaths of almost 400 staff from Covid-19, Coal India Ltd., one of the nation’s biggest employers, has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to help accelerate the vaccination of its work force.

It has written to government officials requesting about 1 million doses be made available for staff and their family members. So far, some 64,000 employees — about a quarter of the work force — have been vaccinated, and the company is seeking to speed up the inoculation drive after unions pressed the case, the world’s top coal miner, which employs about 259,000 people, said.

Sudhir Ghurde, general secretary at Akhil Bharatiya Khadan Mazdoor Sangh, one of the leading unions, said: “The company should be looking at mass vaccination programs that cover all employees and their family members so that the damage can be arrested.”

Coal mine employees, working their shifts during lockdowns to make sure power plants don’t run out of fuel that produces nearly 70% of India’s electricity, have been on the front lines of the pandemic.

Even as deaths accelerated in the second wave that began around mid-February, work at coal mines continued.

Coal India said most of the casualties have occurred during the second wave. Although the situation has started to ease, the company is recruiting more medical staff on a temporary basis and investing in oxygen facilities to prepare for a possible resurgence of the disease. A total of nearly 6,000 workers have been infected, with more than 1,000 continuing to receive treatment, the company said.

Coal India said it has strictly followed safety protocols, such as ensuring that employees wear masks and maintain hygiene, and that equipment is sanitized regularly. South Eastern Coalfields Ltd., the company’s largest producing unit, has seen the worst impact, accounting for nearly a third of the deaths.

Compensation of 1.5 million rupees ($20,600) has been promised by Coal India to families of employees who died from the pandemic, as well as employment to one of the relatives.

The unions say more needs to be done to keep their workers safe, stressing the need for a ramp-up in vaccinations — for family members as well as employees. More than 35,000 family members have received shots so far.



Dear Readers,
As an independent media platform, we do not take advertisements from governments and corporate houses. It is you, our readers, who have supported us on our journey to do honest and unbiased journalism. Please contribute, so that we can continue to do the same in future.

Related posts