Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) president Pawan Chamling on Wednesday demanded a slew of sops for the “frontline warriors” of Sikkim in view of the selfless service rendered by them in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Chamling, who was the chief minister of Sikkim for a record 25 years, suggested a number of incentives for the Covid warriors, including Rs 1 crore insurance cover, financial rewards, doubling of salaries, institution of bravery awards, out-of-turn promotions and regularization of jobs of casual workers engaged in the frontline.
“This is the least the government can do to honour our proud sons and daughters… I extend my complete support and cooperation to the government of Sikkim in this battle. Safety of human life is paramount and I am always ready to give all that is expected of me as my contribution,” he said in an open letter to the frontline warriors. Paying glowing tribute to the frontline workers, Chamling said they have responded bravely by putting their own lives at risk to protect others from the deadly virus. “I cannot think of a greater example of greatness and goodness than yours right now. When I see you in the forefront of this battle, I bow my head before you all in deep gratitude,” he said.
The former chief minister also did not fail to thank the families of the frontline workers. “I cannot begin to fathom the pain, worry and anxiety you are going through minute by minute. Please know that your family’s contribution to the security and victory of Sikkim will be remembered with great appreciation for years and years to come,” he said. The frontline workers appear to be overburdened, particularly in view of the surge in the number of Covid positive cases in recent weeks. From less than a hundred cases a month back, the figure shot up to close to 600 on Wednesday.
To address the issue, the government recently constituted a steering committee to ensure proper management of manpower and logistics. The panel’s brief is to assess the requirement of manpower at different hospitals and health centres and suggests measures for rationale and need-based placements of human resources. The panel has also been tasked to assess the existing stock position of essential medicines, other supplies, equipment and required logistics for health facilities besides suggesting measures for streamlining the procurement system to ensure continuous supply chain down to the primary health centre level.
Report by Prakash, Special Correspondent Sikkim