THD NewsDesk, Uttar Pradesh: Uttar Pradeshiya Prathmik Shikshak Sangh has put forward the data of 700 fatalities of primary, upper primary school government teachers and other employees caused by Covid 19 during training and poll duties. It has demanded to defer the process of May 2 to not have the similar consequence and more devastating impact.
In an attempt to delay the process teachers’ association president Dinesh Chandra Sharma wrote a letter to chief minister Yogi Adityanath and the state election commission (SEC) on April 29. The letter mentioned the names of all teachers who died after they contracted the infection when called for training and election duty.
Minister of state (independent charge) for basic education, Satish Chandra Dwivedi replied upon it,
“There’s no specific audit done by basic education department about the number of teachers’ death. It is wrong to say all those who were engaged in election duty died due to Covid. How do we know that teachers were not infected when they came for election duty? And how does anyone know that teachers, after returning from the election duty, got infected for some other reasons? It is also beyond any justification that teachers contracted infection during poll duty and succumbed to it.”
“Government teachers alone were not doing election duty. There were people from other departments too. We don’t have any data on how teachers got infected and I don’t know how teachers’ association leader has prepared that list of 700 teachers and staff who succumbed to Covid.”
The issue drew a lot of attention after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter on Thursday demanding compensation of ₹50 lakh each for those who lost their lives in panchayat polls.
Mr Dwivedi criticized Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in a series of tweets and said,
“The global pandemic has engulfed the life of every section of the society. Both PM Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath are leaving no stone unturned in fighting out the pandemic. Like every section, teachers are very important to us. We are committed to their safety.”
Teachers unions in Uttar Pradesh including one affiliated to the RSS announced on Friday that they will boycott their poll duty on May 2, the day panchayat poll votes would be counted.
UP Shikshak Mahasangh president Dinseh Chandra Sharma said,
“They (the government) are not at all bothered that we lost 706 teachers due to elections duty. The number could increase. After a final meeting, we have decided to strike work that day. They can take any decision they want. The lives of the teachers are more important than anything else. Nearly 75% of polling staff are teachers. How can they work inside the polling room where chances of getting infected are higher. Unlike policemen, teachers were not covered under the initial vaccination drive.”
On Tuesday, the Allahabad HC had sent a notice to the state election commission seeking an explanation on Covid preparedness and the alleged deaths of teachers.
The second wave of the deadly Covid 19 Pandemic is claiming thousands of lives every day and all the concerned associations are claiming that poll duty has put the lives of the teachers in jeopardy and hence put forward the demand of delaying the counting of the votes failing which they would boycott the duty.