MADURAI: Cleanliness workers at the Covid-19 block of Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) alleged that a sum of Rs 300 (equivalent to a day’s wage) each was being forcibly collected from 170 workers, citing that the money was needed to pay third-party labourers for a mass cleaning drive at the block.
The Rs 150-crore worth Superspeciality Block (SSB) was built under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana and unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2019. The SSB was turned into the Covid block since April last year, and 95 contractual cleanliness workers were recruited by Bharat manpower agency and 75 workers were recruited by 5 star manpower agency.
“During a meeting with all the workers earlier this week, manager of Bharat manpower agency Muthukumar asked workers of both the manpower agencies to shell out Rs 500 each, citing that it was the instruction of the block’s Assistant Resident Medical Officer Dr Syed Abdul Khader. Muthukumar said that a sum of Rs 75,000 was required to engage third-party labourers to carry out building maintenance works such as cleaning high-ceiling window panes. When we voiced our inability to part with Rs 500, the manager then reduced the amount to Rs 300 each,” a worker told TNIE.
Responding to the issue, GRH Dean Dr A Rathinavel said he had no knowledge of the collection of money from workers. “This is tantamount to abuse of power. Workers need not part with their money. I will immediately issue instructions,” said the Dean.