1,600 health inspectors in Tamil Nadu not paid salaries for up to nine months

They were recruited to fight COVID, Health Secretary says money will be disbursed shortly

Over 1,600 health inspectors appointed on temporary basis through outsourcing in April 2020 have not been paid their salary for two months to nine months across the State.

After the outbreak of COVID-19, the State Health Department had initially posted 334 health inspectors through outsourcing in April 2020.

Subsequently another 1,300 health inspectors were posted and they were involved in COVID duty like swab collection, sending infected patients to hospitals, bringing contacts of positive patients for RT-PCR testing and also in organizing COVID vaccination duty.

“Four of our colleagues have died due to COVID and road accidents. At least 200 of us were infected with COVID and returned to duty. But, we have been denied our salary for the last several months,” one of them said.

While in Seyyar Health Unit district, the salary has not been disbursed since February 2021, in other HUDs like Virudhunagar the salary is pending since May. Similarly, the health inspectors in Thanjavur, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil, Thiruvallur and Pudukottai, the monthly salary of ₹20,000 has not been paid since June.

After the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government assumed office, the outsourced employees were made contract workers.

“We have been representing our case with the Health Department officials every month. But, things have not changed,” he added.

In Virudhunagar, the salary for the month of May and June were diverted for procuring materials during COVID time, said Tamil Nadu Government Employees’ Association functionary, C.E. Kannan said.

However, salary payment has been done up-to-date in Sivakasi HUD.

“Even in Madurai HUD, the payment was done on October 30,” one of them said. While the qualification for the post was Plus Two with two year course on Multipurpose Health Worker, many of the Health Inspectors were graduates.

“Everyone has borrowed huge loans to run our families. It is worse in case of those working in other districts as they need to pay for their house rent and travel. We have taken up the issue with the Health Secretary and senior officials in the Health Department,” he added.

The workers said that they were expecting the salary disbursal in the next two days so that they could celebrate Deepavali.

When contacted, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said that the National Health Mission will disburse the salary within a couple of days. The funds were earlier utilised for getting ready infrastructure for a possible third wave of COVID-19.

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