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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar/Cuttack: As Odisha’s fight against the Coronavirus continues, demands to accord Covid frontline worker status to the teachers at par with the police, health workers and journalists, has grown strong.

Making their demands heard, the Odisha Lower Secondary Teachers’ Association (OLSTA) on Monday issued a press release stating that the teachers are being used for COVID management in the State since last year when the first wave had hit Odisha. They are on the front line of State’s COVID defence at many places including the border areas where they have been put to guard unauthorised intruders from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Moreover, the teachers are being used at COVID Care Centres. They have been creating awareness in households, distributing medicines, sanitary napkins, books and PDS ration, the release stated.

As if this was not enough, the recent government order to create a list of school dropouts by surveying every household under their area, that too during the second wave of the pandemic that has been spreading like wildfire has hurt the teachers the most. In addition to this, the teachers were neither provided masks nor sanitisers, gloves. Almost every day a number of teachers are losing their lives to COVID, but their families are deprived of any compensation from the government, rued OLSTA.

The teachers’ organisation further demanded to accord COVID Warrior status to the teachers who are being used by the government in COVID duty so that their vaccination can be prioritised and their families can be compensated at the event of death.

Echoing their demand, two BJP MLAs, Mukesh Mahaling from Loisingha and K Narayana Rao from Paralakhemundi wrote to the Additional Chief Secretary of Odisha Health Department urging him to announce the ‘Teachers on duty’ as COVID Warriors.

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