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COVID warriors protest in Kolkata after losing jobs

A group of people who lost their temporary jobs in various hospitals after a decline in the number of new COVID-19 patients across West Bengal took out a rally on Monday in Kolkata demanding permanent employment as per qualifications.

They had got the jobs during the peak of the COVID-19. However, the state health department recently decided to terminate their contracts. After losing the employment, the COVID warriors went in a procession to Swasthya Bhawan, the health department headquarters in Salt Lake, to protest against the decision.

“The decision should be changed. They should give us permanent placements in government departments,” 22-year-old Arab Sheikh who took part in the rally told PTI. Sheikh, who hails from Murshidabad district, was working at the COVID-19 ward of Kolkata Medical College and Hospital since July last year.

“We were enrolled initially for two months. Then our contracts were renewed for seven more months. And now they are terminating the contracts. What will we be doing now?” said another protestor, Dipendranath Roy. Shiekh, who had been working as a mason in Bangalore, tested positive for coronavirus on returning to the state after lockdown. After he recovered from the disease, he was enrolled on a contractual basis to work in the hospital. Several hospitals in the state have handed over release letters to the COVID warriors.

“Since the number of COVID-19 patients had decreased considerably, therefore we no longer require your assistance in the treatment,” a release letter issued by the KPC Medical College and Hospital read.

Senior officials in the state health department declined to comment in this connection.

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