Fifty-year-old anganwadi worker Kamini Nigam has become the first health worker in Uttar Pradesh to benefit from the April 11 Government Order (GO) for compensation of Rs 50 lakh for front line health workers after her death. The GO applies to government employees dying during duty combating Covid 19.

Posted in Unnao she had contracted the disease while conducting a survey of such patients in containment zones of her district. As there was no facility for such patients in Unnao she was shifted to Kanpur’s district hospital –Hallet hospital.

Here also Kamini Nigam did not get any treatment, as there were no beds available. Finally, she died a painful death on July 18 without getting any treatment.

On the social media Unnao (Sadar) MLA BJP’s Pankaj Gupta questioned the preparedness of the Unnao district administration where an anganwadi worker working as a Covid warrior did not get a bed.

President of Workers Front Dinkar Kapoor wrote a letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath demanding compensation for Nigam.

In the letter he cited the April 11 GO issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Renuka Kumar promising a compensation of Rs 50 lakh for the dependents of all health workers engaged in the prevention and treatment of COVID 19.

The GO comprehensively covers all employees in the government departments, corporations, semi government organizations, contractual and daily wagers, as well as outsourced employees.

According to the GO, the compensation money was to be disbursed from funds earmarked in the State Disaster Response Fund meant as relief in cases of natural disasters.

It was to be released on the recommendation of the respective district magistrates. The concerned district magistrate had to include a note stating the specific duty that the deceased employee had been given as well as a certificate from the district’s Chief Medical Officer confirming that the employee had died of COVID 19.

After the death of Kamini Nigam, Workers Front President Dinkar Kapoor contacted Unnao district magistrate Ravinder Kumar demanding compensation for her under the April 11 GO. The DM admitted that he was not aware of any such GO.

After providing the district magistrate a copy of the GO things started moving, as the GO had specifically mentioned the eligibility of contractual daily wagers for the compensation.

Finally, DM Unnao passed an order on July 23 confirming that the ICDS contractual worker Kamini Nigam, resident of Kasif Ali Sarai, Unnao had died of COVID 19 and an amount of Rs 50 lakhs was being released for “COVID Warrior late Kamini Nigam from the State Disaster Response Fund”.

Describing it as a major victory, Dinkar Kapoor says that putting Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers on COVID 19 duty itself was hugely risky.

He said that until now around 70 employees working with the state’s ICDS are already COVID 19 positive in the districts of Lakhimpur Khiri, Pilibhit and Saharanpr.

It includes Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs), anganwadi workers and their assistants.

“The work of the ICDS workers is mainly to provide services to pregnant and lactating mothers and 0-6 aged children. Engaging these workers in COVID 19 duty can expose this most vulnerable section of the population to the disease, ” Kapoor said.