Coal India Ltd., one of the nation’s biggest employers, has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to help accelerate the vaccination of its work force after the deaths of almost 400 staff from Covid-19.
The world’s top coal miner, which employs about 259,000 people, said it has written to government officials requesting about 1 million doses be made available for staff and their family members. So far, some 64,000 employees — about a quarter of the work force — have been vaccinated, and the company is seeking to speed up the inoculation drive after unions pressed the case.
“The company should be looking at mass vaccination programs that cover all employees and their family members so that the damage can be arrested,” said Sudhir Ghurde, general secretary at Akhil Bharatiya Khadan Mazdoor Sangh, one of the leading unions.
The plea for more shots comes as PM Modi’s administration has come under intense criticism for the handling of India’s deadly second virus wave and botched vaccine rollout. The country — which has the second-highest number of Covid cases in the world — has seen its health infrastructure break down over the past two months, with major cities running out of oxygen and hospitals flooded with patients.
India has suffered from a critical shortage of inoculations, leading some centers to close down as the country struggled to ramp up domestic production and procure doses internationally. In an effort to address the crisis