The Assam government has stressed that efforts are being made to ensure that state government employees at the frontline of the fight against Covid get vaccinated and added that those who do not take the shots may face salary cuts.
The state government had on Wednesday asked all its departments to find out the status of Covid vaccination of frontline employees before their salaries are disbursed.
The move had hinted that payments may be held back for those who have taken the jabs yet.
State Health Minister Keshab Mahanta today said deputy commissioners have been asked to make special efforts to vaccinate frontline workers who have not taken the shots yet. He added that refusal to get vaccinated may lead to action such as pay cuts or withholding of salaries.
The state government has also ordered district authorities to withhold monthly remunerations of Anganwadi workers if they don't get vaccinated.
The move has been strongly criticised by the Sadou Assam Karmachari Parishad, an organisation of state government employees in Assam which has about 4 lakh members.
"We oppose the government's move of no vaccination, no salary because there are many workers who have heart-related diseases and they have not taken the vaccination. This is injustice to the government employees who are suffering from chronic disease," the organisation said in a statement.
"I believe there is no use connecting vaccination with salary. Vaccination is a clear-cut approach of the government. We are encouraging each and every employee. Frontline employees need to be vaccinated; police, health department, secretariat sanitation, etc. I think maximum numbers of employees are already vaccinated. Everyone should be encouraged for vaccination," Parth Hazarika, joint secretary of the organisation, told NDTV.
"This should not have been connected to the salary. Employees want to get vaccinated. But salary and vaccination are two different subjects," he added.