A. Arun Kumar and Khader Basha, both conservancy workers in Kolathur, contracted COVID-19 in May. After recovering, they have rejoined work, and now are using every available opportunity to create awareness about the virus in the locality they work in.

The two workers in division 65, Zone 6, were given a grand welcome on Tuesday for having recovered from COVID-19. They were felicitated by Revenue Minister R.B. Udayakumar in Kolathur.

“We have only seen senior officers being welcomed like this. We were moved,” says Mr. Arun, a 32-year-old from Thattankulam, Pulianthope

Both Mr. Arun and Mr. Basha, are in charge of providing garbage bags to quarantined houses and disinfecting the area with bleaching powder. The two, who tested positive in the month of May, were discharged in June and joined work after resting for a month.

“I was frightened initially as I was admitted in the ICU for a few days. Now, when I visit people under quarantine, to provide garbage bags, I share my experience and tell them not to worry. It gives them some confidence,” adds Mr. Arun.

Mr. Basha too, does the same. “I also ask them if they need groceries or medicines. I have experienced the pain and tension they are undergoing now. So, I try to allay their fears and give them hope,” says the 45-year-old conservancy worker from Sowcarpet.

The two said that many people do not wear masks still, and those who do wear them often do not dispose of them properly. “Our government can only give instructions, people have to follow it to break the chain,” adds Mr. Basha.

A Chennai Corporation official from Zone 6 said that rice, fruits, bread, masks and sanitiser were given to the two-conservancy staff. “The programme was organised to lift the spirits of the conservancy staff as they are frontline workers. A fortnight ago, a conservancy inspector and supervisor were welcomed in a similar manner,” the official said.

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