GUWAHATI: The Guwahati-based North East Indane Distributors' Association has rapped on the central government's door demanding inoculation of employees against the dreaded COVID-19 virus that has so far claimed close to 2.8 lakh lives across the subcontinent. The organization has given the governments till next Monday to take a stand for the delivery boys and the office staffs. Failure to do this, the association said, will cause it to "close our shutters."
Although the LPG delivery boys in other North East Indian states are receiving jabs, the Assam government is yet to take the initiative. Tripura and Meghalaya are the other states where the LPG delivery boys and office staffs are yet to be inoculated.
Ashok Baishya and Prabin Hazarika, the president and general secretary, respectively, jointly issuing a release, said that LPG distributors have been distributing even in containment zones endangering their lives "like all other frontline workers."
Even though the medical fraternity, police, media, defence personnel etc receiving vaccine jabs by dint of their recognition as 'frontline workers', the LPG delivery boys and office personnel have been ignored, the duo pointed out in the communique.
Hazarika, talking to InsideNE, said that fear for the employees' lives has compelled them to contemplate such a drastic measure.
"In 2020, the prime minister and the petroleum minister had said that our LPG delivery men are frontline workers. This year has been especially hard for us. Atul Basumatary and Ranjan Das -- two distributors from Assam -- have passed away. Across Assam, many LPG staff have tested positive. Delivery boys and office staff have said that they want vaccines or else they would not be willing to take the risk anymore. If they go on strike, the distributors will be handicapped."
He further said that the association had earlier reached out to the GM LPG of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) apprising him about the matter.
"They delivery boys belong to economically backward backgrounds and we don't want their deaths to be on our hands. They are most likely to be infected as they are required to make deliveries to containment zones and even hospitals", he added.
India's total COVID-19 caseload surged past 2.5 crore on Tuesday as a powerful cyclone complicated the health crisis in the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, already among the hardesthit by a second wave of the pandemic. Only the United States has had more cases.
Copyright©2022 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today