Hyderabad: B. Somaiah, who works as a security guard at Gandhi Hospital, has been unfazed till now despite the coronavirus crisis, and given the exigencies, has braved even the lockdown with intrepid fortitude.
For a man who travelled 80 km every day to attend to duties at the epicentre of Covid care in Telangana, he is now facing a bizzare but difficult challenge – the diktat of his village sarpanch belonging to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
The village sarpanch has ordered that he either stay put at the hospital instead of returning to the village after work each day after duty or quit the job. Since the sarpanch belongs to the ruling TRS, he cannot defy the whip. But that is not the end of his woes.
Following the sarpanch’s diktat, his family members, including his wife, have stopped giving him food. They too want him to quit his job immediately.
Security guard Somaiah, who is a resident of Anantharam village in Bhongir of Yadadri district, reveals his plight to Deccan Chronicle.
“Our village sarpanch Mallikarjun called me yesterday and said that since I am working at Gandhi hospital, where Coronavirus positive patients are undergoing treatment, I should not come back to my village after duty. He wants me to stay back at the hospital as he fears I could bring Covid to the village.”
To make matters worse, a group of 10 Asha workers showed up at his house today and asked him not to return home after work.
“I was surprised to see Asha workers at my doorstep, demanding that I not return home after work. After making enquires, I learnt they came to my house at the sarpanch’s behest. Some nurses from Bhongir area hospital also joined them. Instead of supporting me, nurses and voluntary workers who are also attending to patients, have turned against me,” he said.
Somaiah, who has been working as a guard at Gandhi for more than 15 years now, added that a health supervisor also followed the sarpanch’s instructions.
Like all private security guards working at any hospital, Somaiah too has been taking all precautions at work - putting on a mask, sanitizing hands throughout working hours. Before entering home, he bathes with hot water.
“After the sarpanch issued threats, my wife is abusing me, demanding I quit my job. I have two children. How will I feed them if I stop work? I have no other source of income,” he asked.
Earlier, Mr Somaiah would travel by local train to reach his workplace but after train services were suspended, he travels on a two-wheeler, covering 40 kms each way. After the call from sarpanch, he has reportedly been getting abusive calls, purportedly by the sarpanch’s henchmen.
“Working in a hospital amid Coronavirus patients is a tough task. But I am not inclined to sit at home when my services there,” a dejected Somaiah said.
Asked what he would do, Somaiah, confused, said, “I will go for duty tomorrow,” adding he now fears being prevented physically from going. When contacted, sarpanch said after some villagers called him and expressed fears about Somaiah, he called him up.
“I told him why travel between home and hospital every day. He can as well stay back there.”
He said so far there has not been a single Corona-virus case in Yadadri and villagers are taking all precautions. “Scared villagers complained to me that he was mingling with some people. It was my duty to suggest that he should stay in the hospital.” Gandhi Hospital sources said that there are no facilities for stay of private security guards at the hospital....