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DoT to Health Ministry: Prioritise vaccine for telecom field workers

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on May 10, 2021

‘They work relentlessly to ensure uninterrupted data and voice services despite grave risks.’

The Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash has recently written to the Ministry of Health requesting vaccination for telecom field workers. The request follows the March 15 letter sent by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) to the DoT Secretary seeking the same.

BusinessLine has seen both the letters.

“Department of Telecommunications (DoT) endorses the request of COAI. 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,” Prakash wrote to the Health Ministry.

In the letter to the DoT in March, SP Kochhar, Director-General, COAI had mentioned that it was essential the telecom field workers be categorised under the ‘frontline workers’ category so that they are given priority in getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

“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,” Kochhar said in the letter.

Due to increased demand owing to work from home, online education and digital transactions, telcos continued network expansion and the frontline workforce of telecom providers continued to provide services on a regular basis despite grave risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

“Even today, the 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,” he added.

Similarly, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), the telecom infrastructure providers body, has also urged the National Health Authority to include telecom infrastructure personnel under ‘frontline worker’ status for administering the Covid-19 vaccine on a priority basis.

Published on May 10, 2021

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