Vaccine for Milma staff sought

3,000 employees are working in 20 locations in the State

The Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) has urged the State government to administer the COVID-19 vaccine on a priority basis to Milma employees across the State.

Over 3,000 employees are engaged in the procurement and processing of milk, a high-risk, but essential service that ensures uninterrupted supply of milk to millions of households in the State, Milma said in a statement on Wednesday.

Milma chairman P. A. Balan raised the demand in separate letters to Dairy Development Minister K. Raju and Health K. K. Shylaja. Mr. Balan urged them to make immediate arrangements for the vaccination of Milma employees working in the apex units and the three regional unions of the dairy cooperative major.

Given the gravity of the situation, the regional unions of Milma are prepared to bear the expenses of the vaccination programme for its workforce, Milma said.

Every day, the employees of Milma and its three regional unions procure over 14 lakh litres of milk from over 3,500 primary dairy co-operatives across the length and breadth of the State, Mr. Balan said.

“’Right from the outbreak of the pandemic, they have been carrying out their duties facing high risk, without causing any disruption to the milk supply. Considering the importance of the task entrusted with Milma, the government had declared it as an essential service.

Now that the second wave of the pandemic has hit hard, it is crucial to take urgent steps to organize the vaccination programme for the workers in this vital sector on a priority basis,” Mr. Balan said.

Milma has also called for a decentralised vaccination mechanism for the employees. The staff, who are in the 18-58 age group, are located in as many as 20 units across the State. Many of them work in different shifts in facilities that function round-the-clock.

The authorities should make arrangements for organising the vaccination programme in each unit of the co-operative network, the Milma chairman said.

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