TAMIL NADU

Govt. cuts ex gratia for frontline staff

The State government has halved the ex gratia of Rs. 50 lakh announced by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami for families of front-line workers who die while on COVID-19 duty. The families will now get only Rs. 25 lakh.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year, the government had announced Rs. 10 lakh for families of those who die while on COVID-19 duty. Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin had demanded that Rs. 1 crore be sanctioned for the kin. On April 22, Mr. Palaniswami revised the amount to Rs. 50 lakh.

According to sources, a government order (G.O.) was issued on Wednesday, granting Rs. 25 lakh to family members of each of the 28 government servants who died after contracting the infection while on COVID-19 duty.

Financial reasons

A highly-placed source told The Hindu that the ex gratia had been halved due to “financial reasons”.

When contacted, a family member of one of the Greater Chennai Corporation workers, who died while on duty after contracting COVID-19, said that he was not aware of any decision to reduce the ex gratia. “We only know from media reports that the Chief Minister has announced Rs. 50 lakh each as ex gratia, and we were told to submit relevant documents to authorities concerned, including the legal heir certificate. Officials have not told us how much we will get,” he told The Hindu .

Controversy over amount

On May 15, the Chief Minister sanctioned Rs. 50 lakh to the family of a Village Administrative Officer in Tiruchi district, who died in a road accident while returning home from COVID-19 duty.

Subsequently, controversy erupted after only Rs. 5 lakh was sanctioned for the family of a deceased matron “involved in work related to fighting COVID-19” at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai. Doctors’ and nurses’ association had demanded Rs. 50 lakh for her family.

Civic staff’s plea

The employees of Greater Chennai Corporation have requested the government to give Rs. 50 lakh compensation to the kin of 13 civic workers who died of COVID-19.

The Corporation employees have also requested the government to release the compensation amount to the families of five workers who were not on the list of those meant to receive the compensation. Most workers who died in the COVID-19 pandemic were conservancy workers.

Chief Engineer L. Nandhakumar and many other engineers had tested positive for COVID-19. Mr. Nandhakumar was later discharged from the hospital.

The Corporation staff complained that health workers, including nurses, who tested positive, were forced to spend more than Rs. 60,000 in tertiary care hospitals of the government, owing to issues in medical insurance.

(With inputs from

Aloysius Xavier Lopez)

We only know from media reports that the Chief Minister has announced Rs. 50 lakh each as ex gratia, and we were told to submit relevant documents

Bereaved family member of a worker

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