Imphal, Feb 10 (PTI) Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday said that the government cannot afford further engagement of contractual COVID-19 healthworkers but would give them preference in jobs against vacancies in the health department.
Responding to a query, he told the Assembly that a total of 659 health workers including 86 medical officers, 309 staff nurse and 264 multi-tasking staff were recruited on contractual basis to assist regular staff deputed to COVID care, quarantine and testing centres.
He said initially they were engaged for only three months but their engagement period was extended to another three months due to the requirement to fight the contagion.
The government acknowledges the contribution made by the COVID-19 warriors, but in view of the current situation and fund constraint government cannot afford further engagement of the health workers, he added.
The chief minister’s statement came amidst protest by COVID-19 contractual healthworkers demanding extension of their service. Agitating workers had in a failed attempt even tried to storm the chief minister’s bungalow earlier this week.