Pvt security guards ask for vaccination

Kolkata: Private security guards, who are an important constituent of the city’s security setup, have now demanded that they be treated as frontline workers and vaccinated at the earliest.

At present, the state employs 5 lakh security guards — the city alone employing 3 lakh. Present at the hospitals, malls and even the airport, these guards have been trained in handling bio-medical waste, a crucial exercise in these Covid times. Ironically, lakhs of guards have been roped in for the successful rollout of the vaccination drive, said stakeholders wondering why they were left out of the vaccination list covering essential service workers in the first place.

Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) has written to the state and Centre requesting them to bring security guards under the mass vaccination programme. “We wrote to the state on March 3. Letters have been written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, minister of state (health) Chandrima Bhattacharya and the principal secretaries and secretaries of the health department. Similar letters have been written to the central home ministry,” said Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, secretary general (West Bengal chapter).

“About 90% of our workforce is aged between 25 and 45. This is the section we are worried about,” he said.

Shyamal Karmakar, MD of S&IB, a major agency, said their men had worked in some of the most high-risk zones during lockdown.
“The banking sector is one area where several of our employees got infected. At least 25 people from my own organization were among them. We had hoped that given the work we did, we would be considered for immunization,” said Karmakar.
A representative of another big agency, NIS, said they have made special arrangements to ensure anyone above 60 in their organization will be vaccinated. “We think that there is a practical need for us to be part of the vaccination drive,” she said.

Date: 15th MAR 2021

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