Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has declared working journalists of the state as frontline Covid warriors. “They are a great support for our war against COVID-19,” a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said.
The decision would benefit over 6,500 journalists. While approving a proposal to this effect, the chief minister said, journalists, are doing a great service to the state by providing seamless news feed and making people aware of coronavirus-related issues. “As many as 6,944 working journalists of the state have been covered under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana. They are getting health insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh each,” the statement said. Odisha has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh for the next of kin of journalists who die of COVID-19 while performing their duty, it said. After being declared as frontline workers by the state government, journalists will now get priority in the vaccination program, sources said. As many as 11 newspersons have died of the infection in Odisha since the beginning of the pandemic, sources said.