Here is another group of frontline COVID warriors under the pandemic hammer.
With around 50,000 of their workers and families getting affected due to coronavirus, and about 500 of them losing their lives, 12,000 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distributors in the country have warned the government about a possible supply disruption with more and more workers refusing to turn up for duty.
The Federation of LPG Distributors of India (FLDI), the largest such association in the country with over 12,000 members and 300,000 permanent and temporary staff, has asked the government to recognize the LPG distributor staff as Corona frontline warriors and get them vaccinated on priority to ensure uninterrupted home delivery of LPG cylinder.
According to statistics shared by the association, LPG delivery boys visit 65-75 lakh houses and have access to more than three crore people daily. “This makes them one of the most vulnerable guys running around on the streets and a perfect candidate to turn into a Super Spreader, but for reasons best known to them, the concerned authorities have kept their eyes shut towards this disaster so far,” the FLDI said in a statement.
During this second wave of coronavirus, nearly 50,000 distributors, their staff and families have got infected with the deadly virus, out of which more than 500 of them lost their lives to date, it said.
The statement added that the oil marketing companies have ‘miserably failed’ in recognizing their efforts towards society.
“Today our delivery and office staff are fearful and both physically and mentally exhausted. They have started showing reluctance in going for home delivery without being vaccinated despite the distributor's best effort to convince them. Our delivery system is crumbling steadily,” it said.
India has a total of 25,097 LPG distributors, who were working on the frontline even during the first lockdown in 2020, when the government had announced free LPG cylinders for below poverty line (BPL) families.
“We give a 15-day notice to fulfil both the LPG delivery staff-related and OMCs related demands. Any adverse effect on the home delivery of LPG refill due to the absence of the distributor staff after the mentioned date would solely be the responsibility of the concerned administrative authorities,” the statement added.