The Odisha government has sanctioned a compensation of ₹2.55 crore to family members of 17 working journalists of the state who died due to COVID-19, an official release said. Each family will be provided with ₹15 lakh each.
The Information and Public Relations Department of the state said the amount has been sanctioned from the Journalist Welfare Fund. Four journalists from Bhubaneswar, three from Balangir, seven from Ganjam, two from Jajpur, and one from Kalahandi lost their lives due to the virus. Their families will be provided with the compensation, reported The New Indian Express.
"Few cases have been received by the department which will be disbursed after due verification. After required inquiry at the district level, eligible applications will be considered for disbursement of the ex gratia compassionate assistance," the statement said.
In May this year, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared working journalists of the state as 'frontline COVID-19 warriors'. He announced a compensation of ₹ 15,00,000 to the next of kin of a journalist who succumbed to the virus.
Journalists Hit Hard By COVID
The coronavirus has hit journalists across the country hard. When the virus struck the country last year, large publications laid off journalists and cut the salaries of employees. When the vaccination drive started in India this year, they were not included in the priority list despite reporting from the field extensively.
On average, three journalists died everyday in April 2021. More than 300 scribes across India have lost their lives.