In a shocking development, the death of the manager of the State Bank of India in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh had captured what could be the plight of the employees attached to the banks as the manager was refused to take leave even after he had shown positive symptoms for the COVID-19 viral infection and his demise had sparked uproar from several banking employee unions which levied the blame and responsibility of his death on the higher authorities.
According to reports, 39-year-old Pitta Rajesh was the branch manager of SBI Agency Laxmipuram in Vishakapatnam and he was suffering from fever from August 25 and despite being developed a positive symptom for COVID-19, his higher authorities had refuted Rajesh's request to grant him leave for his medical treatment. The SBI Officers Association had said that Rajesh had made multiple requests for leave, even after he tested positive for COVID-19. However, the higher authorities failed to grant him leave.
Following his demise, the Amaravati circle of the SBI Officers Association had written a letter to the General Secretary of the Association in which it had highlighted that, by not granting timely leave for Rajesh, the higher authorities of the bank had violated the COVID-19 guidelines and the association had pressed for stern action against the higher authorities.
In the letter, the association further stated that the Regional Manager and the Human Resource Manager are responsible for the banker's death. By citing that the timely leave could have saved his life, the association said that the demise had left the whole banking community to shock and it further added that the higher authorities had pressurized Rajesh to work even after he developed positive symptoms for the global pandemic.
The association quoted that the field officer of the same branch was also sick and since Rajesh was the branch manager, he had granted leave for the field officer immediately after he tested positive for COVID-19 on August 28. When Rajesh asked for leave, the higher authorities had told him to submit the report that he has tested positive for the viral infection, without which he can't be given leave. On August 30, he has moved another request for leave and the Regional Manager had denied the request by stating that deputation cannot be arranged in his absence.
As he wasn't sanctioned with the timely leave, he couldn't get tested for COVID-19 though he was symptomatic. According to the association, Rajesh got tested for COVID-19 on September 1. On September 1, the operations of the bank were halted in the wake of the issue in the transformer near the bank and after the operations were halted, one of the employees of the bank had taken Rajesh for COVID-19 testing. To his shock, his results confirmed that he had contracted to the viral infection.
After being tested positive, Rajesh again moved his request for leave for getting treatment but the association said that even after knowing that he has tested positive for the pandemic, the Regional Manager and the HR Manager denied the request and they forced Rajesh to disclose his COVID-19 report. Rajesh had got the printed copy of the result through mail on September 2 following which he immediately forwarded it to the higher authorities.
Upon seeing his report, he was sanctioned with the leave, and by this time when was given leave, his health had got weakened further. Following the sanction of leave, Rajesh was admitted to the government hospital in Kakinada for treatment. However, the higher authorities had pressed him to work even during the hospitalization. The association revealed that Rajesh was ordered to attend review meetings online while he was battling for survival and the Regional Manager had targeted and insulted Rajesh despite knowing that he was battling for life.
Amid the treatment, Rajesh has passed away on September 11, and his demise and the inhumane treatment that he faced from his higher authorities had stirred massive outrage from the banking community in the state and across the nation, as the incident had signaled the scenario of behind the glassdoors and the plight of the employees. The United Forum of Bank Unions had staunchly attacked the Regional and HR Managers and called the death as a murder.
We Demand Death Sentence against AGM Vishakhapattanam FIMM, Manager HR & @TheOfficialSBI— United Forum of Bank Unions | #StayHome #StaySafe (@UFBUIndia) September 14, 2020
Its planned murder of an innocent Manager. Even SBI has voiltaed norms of DM Act.
If @APPOLICE100 dont lodge FIR under IPC307 we will be forced to do protest infornt of CM Office.#KillerSBI pic.twitter.com/P335H8hpEv
The forum further underlined that they would be forced to stage a protest in front of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister's office if the state police department fails to register a case against the higher authorities under the grounds of murder. The Association further alleged that the bank had violated the guidelines and protocols of COVID-19 and it has failed to take efforts to maintain the well-being of the staff members who had tested positive for the global pandemic.