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Duty-bound on days of festival too

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DUTY FIRST: A doctor and his team of nurses at the Government Royapettah Hospital in Chennai. —
DUTY FIRST: A doctor and his team of nurses at the Government Royapettah Hospital in Chennai. —

Vidya Venkat

CHENNAI: As the city celebrates Deepavali, some professionals will be diligently answering the call of duty such as doctors and firemen. Several of these people will be working to ensure that the rest of the city enjoys a safe festive eve. Fire department personnel have geared up to attend to calls on Deepavali day.

R.G. Jayakanthan, deputy director, northern region, Fire and Rescue Services, said hundreds of firemen would be stationed in 29 mobile vans and 28 fire stations across the city. . The firemen cannot even go home to take rest on Deepavali, he said. “They have to retire in the nearest fire station, so that they can be summoned during emergencies. This is to make sure the city celebrates the festival safely,” he said.

At the Government Kilpauk Hospital, head of the Burns Ward, S.R.Vijayalakshmi said she hoped that there would not be any cases of cracker injury this year. But the department has prepared itself to face any casualties. Casualty medical officer of Government Royapettah Hospital Dr.K.Suresh Babu said several doctors had been posted to attend patients on Deepavali day. He said more cracker injury cases come in on days immediately following the festival when children end up burning left over crackers.

Another category of workers having an important job on Deepavali day are the transport workers. A bus conductor with Metropolitan Transport Corporation, T. Murali* said it was not compulsory for them to work on Deepavali but being a public service provider, they cannot shirk work and they get paid double salary for working that day. He said he would be doing eight hours duty on Monday. Shop floor assistants, however, were not a happy lot as most of them whined about having to stand for long hours in the shops managing the festival rush. “There are several people who walk in to do last minute shopping and such customers are difficult to handle,” said S. Kumudam* at a garments showroom in T. Nagar. But when it is time to do good business, there is no time to complain, she added.

(Some names have been changed on request)

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