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UP CM To Pay 600 Cr To Deceased Families Who Died Of Corona In Panchayat Election

The Uttar Pradesh government has paid out over Rs 600 crore in compensation to the relatives of approximately 2,000 government employees who died after getting Covid-19 while working on panchayat polls in the state between April and May during the pandemic’s fatal second wave.

A state government order dated August 26 that sent Rs 606 crore to the State Election Commission and ordered district magistrates to send Rs 30 lakh each to the families of nearly 2000 state government employees who had died was obtained by the media.

The order, signed by UP Additional Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar Singh and delivered to the state electoral commission and all DMs, reads, “The District Magistrates (DMs) would transfer the money within a week through RTGS in bank accounts of the next-of-kin of the deceased employees.”

The order lists the names of all 2128 state government officials who died while on panchayat polls duty, 2097 of them died as a result of Covid-19 and 31 of whom died for other reasons. The UP government first claimed that just a few employees died as a result of Covid-19 while on duty during the elections, using the criteria of the state election commission that death is counted only if it occurred during the time an employee left his house for duty and returned back.

The government has expanded that requirement on “compassionate grounds” to include 2128 deaths of employees for compensation, according to the August 26 order. “In the benefit of the deceased employees and on compassionate grounds due to situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the criteria has been changed to consider deaths within 30 days of the training, polling or counting process of the Panchayat polls,” according to the UP government’s August 26 order. This came after a leading teachers union claimed the deaths of around 2000 teachers and others from various government departments who contracted Covid while on poll duty and died after a few days.

According to the August 26 order, the government would release Rs 606 crore to the State Election Commission and will arrange for extra Rs 27.75 crore to compensate the relatives of 2128 deceased employees with Rs 30 lakh each. As a result, 96 employees’ families may have to wait a little longer for compensation.

The state’s Panchayat elections drew widespread criticism for taking place during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The Allahabad High Court did not hear a petition in April asking for the Panchayat elections to be postponed, and they were held in April and May as per an earlier High Court judgement.

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