NEW DELHI: Indian Journalists Union (IJU), while appealing to the Union government to declare working journalists as frontline warriors, urges all States and Union territories to separately announce compensations to the families of corona-media victims. The national union of scribes lauded the State governments, which have already paid compensations to the beneficiaries.
It may be mentioned that the Odisha government has offered rupees 15 lakh to each family, which lost a working journalist due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab governments have announced ₹ 10 lakh each to such victim families. Both Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments announced ₹ 5 lakh each, followed by Bihar government ₹ 4 lakh and Telangana government ₹ 2 lakh aid to kin of journalists who died due to corona-complications.
Northeast India has lost at least 20 scribes due to Covid-19 since the pandemic hit in March 2020, informed Nava Thakuria, an IJU enthusiast and India representative to the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC). Besides three scribes, who died while working outside the region, all others succumbed to virus infection aggravated ailments, while performing their duty as covid warriors.
Though Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Sikkim have not reported any journo-death because of the heath disaster till date, Assam witnessed the highest number of corona-casualties among media persons (thirteen editor-journalists). Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya also lost their journalists to the corona-crisis. But no State government in the region has sanctioned a single rupee to the victim-families.
“Assam government initially announced that it would include the corona-media victims in the list of rupees 50 lakh life insurance scheme beneficiaries along with the other front-line warriors, but lately it remains unusual silent over the commitment,” said a statement issued by IJU president K. Sreenivas Reddy and secretary-general Balwinder Singh Jammu, adding that other north-eastern States should also come forward offering adequate compensations to affected journo-families.