It was a party in the park. And to all the young men and women in the middle, there were mixed emotions. For, some 30-plus Covid workers contracted by Chennai Corporation were biding goodbye on the last day of August after serving the community in the far end of R. A. Puram for over 17 months, since April 2020.
Taking care of Ward 173 of GCC.
There was a cake to cut and share, gifts to be given and a hearty lunch to be partaken in the verdant, open air space of Dharmambal Park of GCC at the far end of Kamaraj Salai – a park which had become a second hangout for all these workers since early 2020 soon after the pandemic broke out.
“It was a happy occasion alright but there were many of us who wondered about getting another job assignment,” said Deepa, who is from Pattinapakkam and a senior Covid worker.
“This assignment came in handy for all of us who needed money badly as the pandemic ravaged, jobs were curtailed and incomes fell,” added Deepa, who has studied HR and has been recognised for her work here. “We hope some NGO or the Corporation will engage us next.”
(Read about Deepa’s felicitation by GCC – https://www.mylaporetimes.com/2021/06/say-congrats-to-deepa-the-covid-care-worker-of-a-kuppam-zone-who-has-been-praised-for-her-efforts/ )
All the contract workers are in their 20s/30s and hail from the Mylapore zone. They were recruited for a variety of assignments, some trying and challenging, some very demanding. Some became friends of the community, some were chased away for asking people to take the jab, some got skilled in people management in difficult times.
Those who worked in areas like KVB Gardens where the pandemic struck badly in late 2020, affecting clusters in this highly congested area of R A Puram faced big challenges. So did the workers assigned to the kuppam zone.
At one point, the team of workers was over 175. Over time, residents, NGOs and the Mylapore MLA provided for a cup of tea or breakfast for the team. In recent weeks, as GCC clipped the numbers, the team was reduced to 30 plus.
(( )) DID YOU INTERACT with these workers and got some help when the pandemic was raging ? Share your experience here !