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Home News Reports ‘Is Maharashtra government running COVID-19 centres to benefit contractors’, asks Kirit Somaiya

‘Is Maharashtra government running COVID-19 centres to benefit contractors’, asks Kirit Somaiya

Kirit Somaiya visited a COVID-19 centre in Mumbai's Dombivali where the employees reportedly alleged that the contractor of the facility has not paid their salaries for August, September and October

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya has slammed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government raising aspersions on the COVID-19 centres operating in Mumbai. Following a visit to one such COVID-19 centres in Mumbai’s Dombivali, Somaiya has alleged that the contractor tasked with running the medical facility exploited nurses, ward boys and patients admitted in the hospital.

Somaiya, along with MLA Ravindra Chavan, had paid a visit to Dombivli Gymkhana COVID Center yesterday. He alleged that more than two dozen ward boys, nurses and other employees at the medical facility confided him of being exploited by the contractor. Somaiya stated that they confessed that they were not paid their salaries for August, September and October. He also alleged that their signatures were taken on receipts of Rs 15,000 but they were only paid Rs 10,000.

Somaiya visited Dombivali COVID-19 facility after workers threatened to go on strike

Somaiya had visited the medical facility after workers at the Dombivali COVID-19 centre had called for a strike on December 23. Taking cognisance of the matter, Somaiya visited the COVID-19 Centre to understand the grievances of the employees. During his visit to the centre, Somaiya also checked on the patients who were admitted at the facility.

“Some nurses and wardboys travel a long distance to come here for work. They were not paid salary for the month of November. When they ask contractor for their salaries, the contractor threatens them with removing them from the job,” a nurse reportedly complained.

After listening to the complaints raised by the workers, Somaiya had a discussion with the health officials of the corporation. He demanded the salaries of the employees be credited immediately to their bank accounts and asked for a special audit of the contractor’s work and finances.

Kirit Somaiya alleges Maha Vikas Aghadi government for the welfare of the contractors

Kirit Somiaya also wondered if the COVID-19 centres in the state were being opened up by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for the sole purpose of helping the contractors.

“When the number of coronavirus patients was high in the state, it was necessary to set up COVID-19 centres. However, when the number is on the wane, why did Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray inaugurate two COVID-19 centres in Thane? What’s the logic behind this? Is Thackeray government doing so for helping the contractors?” Somaiya asked.

Non-payment of salaries a recurrent theme in Maharashtra under Maha Vikas Aghadi government

Ever since the coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed in the country, the non-payment of salaries of employees has been a recurrent theme in Maha Vikas Aghadi governed Maharashtra. There have been several cases where the employees have revolted for not being given their due salaries. Some of them have even taken the extreme step of giving up their lives after buckling under an insurmountable financial crisis.

Recently, two ST workers had committed suicide for non-payment of dues and reduction in salaries. Earlier in August, an ST employee of the Maharashtra government had committed suicide for over non-payment of salary for over two months. Amol Mali, the ST worker, after being in depression for not receiving his salary for the period of the last two months, had decided to end his life.

However, the concerns raised by the government employees have fallen on deaf ears, with the Maharashtra government showing more attentions in punishing the dissenting voices such as Sameet Thakkar, Sunaina Holey, Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and actor Kangana Ranaut instead of alleviating the problems besetting the poor employees.

It is worth noting that while the government struggled to pay the salaries to the employees, it did not shy away from authorising the purchase of vehicles for its ministers. The approval from the Uddhav Thackeray government came at a time when the Maharashtra Treasury was in a bad shape in the wake of coronavirus induced lockdown in the state. However, disregarding the acute financial crisis suffered by thousands of government employees, whose salaries were either deferred or reduced, Uddhav Thackeray government sanctioned the purchase of 6 new luxury vehicles for their ministers.

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