Hyderabad : Hundreds of domestic helpers hired on a contract basis at Hyderabad’s Gandhi hospital, staged a protest on Thursday demanding incentive on par with that given to sanitation workers. The protest comes at a crucial time when hundreds of COVID-19 patients are admitted to the nodal center. Those on protest work as supporting staff to the medical fraternity at Gandhi Hospital.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekar Rao announced an incentive of Rs 7,500 to the sanitation workers of Greater Hyderabad Municipal body and that of Hyderabad Water and Sewerage board. The Chief minister termed the incentive as 'gift' and a way to thank them for their relentless efforts during the lockdown.

Following this, the domestic staff at Gandhi Hospital went on a protest, demanding equal incentive of Rs 7,500 each, above their salaries for working during the Covid-19 lockdown.

It is to note that the state government has already sanctioned 10 percent of their (workers) gross salary/ renumeration to all regular , contract and out sourcing staff members of medical and health department, which includes staff of Gandhi Hospital. Reportedly, each individual draws between Rs 8000-9000 per head, the 10 percent sanctioned amount sums up between Rs 800-900. However the staff is demanding incentive of Rs 7,500.

However, according to official sources GHMC sanitation workers who recieved Chief Minister’s incentive are permanent employees. Meanwhile those sanitation workers who protested at Gandhi hospital are considered contract staff. Hence, an ambiguity prevails whether they are eligible for the incentive.

The protesting workers were directed to resume work by contractors by assuring them that the issue will be brought to the notice of concerned authorities.

The state-run Gandhi hospital is currently treating more than 400 Covid-19 patients and suspects in Telangana state. As per the Ministry of Public Health and Family welfare, Telangana, there are 453 cases of COVID-19 reported in the state out of which 397 are active cases. Meanwhile 45 recovered and 11 succumbed to the pandemic. All active cases in Hyderabad are being treated at Gandhi Hospital.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary �Still I Rise�, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad�s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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