Film body upset with Maharashtra halting vaccination for those under-44
Ever since Maharashtra announced lockdown, junior artists and technicians associated with the entertainment industry have been hankering after aid and prompt vaccination. Their organization, FWICE appealed that they should be given the jabs, so that they can resume work and start earning again. But with the state government halting vaccination procedures for those in the 18-44 age bracket, these workers now feel helpless.
'About 60% of the workforce falls in this age bracket'
Ashok Dubey, general secretary, Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) told TOI that the decision has crushed the hopes of members. "About 60% of the workforce falls in this bracket and this announcement putting a hold on vaccination is a huge setback for us," he shared. "Most of our members were looking forward to going back on the sets with the vaccine shield."
Why was the vaccination drive for these workers stopped?
Earlier this week, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope announced the state would prioritize vaccinating those aged 45 and above with the remaining stock of shots. Tope, however, stressed the move was temporary. But for film industry workers, every slight delay has a significant impact. Most of them are daily wage earners, and they have been out of work since the Janta curfew was announced.
FWICE says government 'has not replied' to YRF's letter yet
FWICE and other cinema bodies have been continuously requesting the Uddhav Thackeray-led government to extend monetary aid for the daily wage workers. Earlier this month, Yash Raj Films pledged to vaccinate 30,000 FWICE members and wrote to the state, asking for permission. Dubey revealed that no reply had come yet. "The chief minister has not even replied to the letter, which is very disappointing."
Maharashtra government extended the COVID-19 restrictions until June 1
Recently, the Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association (IMPPA) had also written to the chief minister, requesting him to arrange a vaccination drive for its members. While no update on that front has come, the Maharashtra government extended the COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday until June 1. Meanwhile, the worst-hit state in the country has finally started reporting a decline in its daily cases.