3,000 Trasnco, Genco staff infected, 80 die, CMD shifts blame

The employees are furious that even now, the managements have failed to take up any special vaccination drive or pursue their case

Hyderabad: Over 3,000 employees of the Telangana State Transco (TS Transco) and Genco have been infected with Coronavirus during the first and second Covid wave since March 2020, and over 80 employees lost their lives, acknowledged TS Transco and Genco CMD Devulapalli Prabhakar Rao on Saturday, even as the employees opine they were by and large left to fend for themselves.

Rao, speaking to mediapersons possibly for the first time since the pandemic began, on the occasion of handing over a cheque of Rs 70 lakh to NIMS, Hyderabad to purchase ventilators, stubbornly defended the management role, saying, “we have done our best. No one can fault me. We did everything possible. We gave the best support anyone could have given.”

However, power company employees strongly pooh-poohed the claims, saying that there were more positive cases and deaths than what was being accepted by their CMD. They claimed that over 5,000 staff were infected and 97 died as per the information gathered by power employees unions.

“We never got a feeling that the company or the management was there to support us. In the second wave, most of the field staff had no access to the senior management or any help in hospitalisation,” said a field staff with over two decades of experience.

Another employee of TSSPDCL questioned the leadership, saying, “most bill collectors are contracting the virus after visiting households for meter reading to issue power bills. We requested the management to halt this until vaccination is completed. But they still forced us on to the field without adequate protection or support to continue meter reading and issuing bills.”

Prabhakar Rao denied any shortcomings, saying, “do I have hospitals of my own?”

Refusing to acknowledge employee resentment at the failure of senior management, he said, “if you speak to a few employees can you reach a conclusion. We have 50,000 employees. How many did you speak to? Less than one per cent?”

Mr Rao also refused to give details on how much financial or other support was provided in terms of alliances with hospitals, insurance or bill for hospitalisation to the employees or their families.

The powerless employees of the power companies are furious that even now, despite so many deaths, the Transco and Genco managements have failed to take up any special vaccination drive or pursue their case with the state government seriously to vaccinate the entire staff.

Though the state government had launched a special vaccination drive for ‘super spreaders’ categories two days ago, including in it ten professions, power staff were not part of it.

“This shows the negligence of the management as well as the government,” another angry employee said.

The special vaccination drive covers LPG delivery staff, petrol pumps staff, ration shop dealers, auto drivers, cab drivers, vegetable, flower, fruit market vendors, non-veg and fish market vendors, liquor shop vendors, media personnel and the TSRTC staff.

“There is no mention of power staff, who are attending to emergency duties every day to ensure uninterrupted power supply to hospitals and all sectors, during these difficult Covid times,” he said.

Prabhakar Rao said, “we have written to the government several times for vaccination for power staff along with frontline warriors. Due to vaccination shortage, it did not materialise. We have 50,000 staff and 25,000 pensioners. It requires nearly 1.50 lakh vaccine doses if spouses of staff are included. What can I do if the government does not have the vaccines?”

However, employees are angry at the management for not pursuing the case seriously with the state government.

“The Centre had written to states in February to cover power staff along with frontline workers before March 31. But our management failed to take adequate steps and failed to pursue the case with the state government seriously,” an employee of Transco said.

Another employee of Genco, said, “The union power department has written to state governments this week again to vaccinate the entire power staff. The Chief Secretary was asked to take immediate steps in this regard. Despite this, there is no response from our management, or state government.”

An employee of TSNPDCL was furious over the government neglecting power staff again while conducting a special drive to vaccinate ten categories of people in the name of ‘super spreaders’ and their own CMD for not taking any interest in the lives or welfare of the staff.

“The government has covered even liquor shop staff, street side vendors under this drive but not power staff. This shows their negligence towards us. And our CMD has not said a word,” he added bitterly.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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