Bengaluru Health Staffers Faking Swab Collection Caught On Camera

A case against the staffers has been filed at the Kodigehalli police station.

2 min read
Two Bengaluru health staff caught on camera faking swab collection dismissed.  

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Monday reportedly dismissed Kodigehalli Primary Health Center (PHC)’s two health staffers – Hemanth and Nagaraj – who were caught on camera faking a swab collection.

The Chief Health Officer has been suspended pending a probe. A case already registered against the duo at Kodigehalli police station based on the complaint of the Medical Officer Premanand BR from Kodigehalli PHC.

The matter came to light on Sunday after a viral video showed Hemanth and Nagaraj opening new swabs and just putting them into vials without taking the sample.

Some women, not seen in the frame, are heard talking to them and joking about the sample collection.

A woman, not seen in the frame, is also heard talking to the two men, telling them that they will be in trouble if the video goes viral. However, one of the men replies saying that he is not afraid, and will continue.

Police Lodges FIR

Hemanth and Nagaraj were hired by the BBMP 10 months ago to collect swabs for COVID-19 testing.

The three women’s voices heard in the video have been identified by the police as Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers Kusuma, Prema and Padma, who work in the PHC. Another staffer, Ashok, was also seen in the video, according to the FIR.

‘High Workload, Late Payments’

The incident also reportedly pointed to the frustration that these contract workers face in the form of erratic salary payments and the heavy workload imposed on them.

The workers have been facing trouble at work since September due to salary payment delays, shortage of workers and increased workload, reported Deccan Herald.

The report quoted a swab collector as saying, “Our salary is Rs 18,000 per month, including Rs 5,000 in incentives. However, we have not been paid our salary for two months. Worse, we are now hearing that the government will no longer pay incentives.”

(This story was first published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)

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