Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday sanctioned an ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh each for the families of two journalists who died of COVID-19, official sources said. Ganjam-based Priyadarshi Patnaik of local daily Samaja and Gajapati resident K Ch Ratnam of Eenadu newspaper succumbed to the viral disease earlier this month.
"I thank the chief minister for supporting the journalists' families," Manas Mangaraj, the adviser to the state Information and Public Relations Department, said in a statement. The state government had in April announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh for families of all frontline workers — doctors and other health care professionals — who die due the infection during the course of their work.
It had also promised a compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the next of kin of journalists who succumb to the infection. Similarly, family members of deceased ASHA and Anganwadi workers have been assured a monthly pension till the age of 60.
Meanwhile, teachers in Ganjam have demanded due recognition for their colleagues engaged in making arrangements for migrant workers at temporary medical centres, set up in local schools. The administration in Ganjam has already feted some teachers, who lost their lives in the fight against the pandemic, as 'COVID Warriors', but the state is yet to make any announcement in this regard, an official said.