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DoT endorsement to classify telecom workers as ‘frontline warriors’

The telecom department has urged the health ministry to “favourably” consider the industry’s request to provide Covid-19 vaccine to frontline telecom workers on a priority basis.

The Department of Telecom (DoT), in a letter dated March 16, said it endorses the request of the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) in this regard.

“There is no doubt that the telecom field force continues to work relentlessly to ensure uninterrupted data and voice services across the country and that in this endeavour the risk exposure for Covid-19 is high,” Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash had said.

Citing COAI’s plea to treat frontine telecom workers as “telecom warriors” and prioritise them for receiving Covid vaccine, DoT urged the health ministry to favourably consider the request made by the industry association. PTI has seen a copy of the letter.

When contacted, COAI Director General SP Kochhar on Monday reiterated that telecom workers needed to be vaccinated on a priority. Back in March, COAI had written to DoT highlighting how telecom warriors continue to work persistently.

“It would be impossible for people to function – conduct everyday business, bank, learn, utilise telehealth services and simply communicate, all while minimising exposure if the frontline workers had not been at the forefront,” COAI had said in its letter dated March 15 on the issue.

It is essential that they are classified under the frontline workers category and given priority for getting the Covid-19 prevention vaccine, COAI had said.

“We thus request you to kindly categorise telecom warriors as frontline workers and take up the issue with the Ministry of Health to get them in the priority list for getting the vaccination,” COAI had said.

After recording over four lakh fresh cases for four consecutive days, India witnessed a single-day rise of 3,66,161 Covid-19 cases on Monday, which pushed its tally to 2,26,62,575, according to a morning update by the health ministry.

The death toll due to the viral disease climbed to 2,46,116 with 3,754 more people succumbing to it, the ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed.

The vaccination drive in India was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated and vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2. Subsequently, it was opened for different age groups.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed the 17-crore mark. PTI

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