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Declare Odisha Teachers COVID Warriors: Demand Grows As Virus Takes Toll

Bhubaneswar: The news of the death of a junior teacher (contractual), Simanchal Satpathy and subsequent suicide by his parents in Ganjam was a heart-wrenching episode. Not only Satpathy, one more teacher from the district has also died of COVID-19 in the last three days and the death of teachers in COVID-19 has now emerged as a concern as they are working on the frontlines in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.

Resentment is brewing among teachers as the State government is yet to include them in the list of ‘Covid Warriors’ despite the sacrifices by the community.

As per reports, Simanchal Satpathy died of COVID-19 last week while undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Soon after Simanchal’s death, his parents in Narayanpur Sasan village under Kabisuryanagar police limits of Ganjam district allegedly committed suicide after being unable to bear the loss.

“After son’s death, the parents of the teacher committed suicide. We urge administration to rehabilitate the families of teachers who die of COVID-19,” said Niharkant Mohapatra, a teacher.

Another teacher from Aska, Sudharth Shankar Padhi, who was engaged in a temporary medical camp, died of COVID-19 recently. The Ganjam district administration tagged them as COVID Warriors and expressed solidarity with the families of the two teachers who died of COVID-19.

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“All the teachers have been working with the district administration in the ongoing fight against coronavirus. The government has certified many personnel of several departments as Covid warriors. But so far, primary teachers have not been declared as Covid Warriors,”said Rajesh Mohanty, president of Odisha Primary Teachers’ Association.

The teachers’ association has alleged that the State government is only tagging teachers, who are on COVID duty, as ‘COVID Warriors.’ The fact is that several teachers are working at the grassroots level with the administration right from assisting in relocation of the migrants returning in trains to quarantine centres and in the management of TMCs and COVID care centres, Ganjam Teachers’ Association members said.

The association has submitted a memorandum addressed to Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik through the Ganjam Collector and demanded ‘Covid Warrior’ status for teachers and Rs 50 lakh insurance cover.

“A teacher in each district is engaged in COVID-19 management. We demand Odisha government to declare an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh,” said Sunil Pradhan, Working President, Odisha Primary Teachers’ Association.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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