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Home / Chandigarh / As edu dept shuts down after Covid-19 cases, other staff worried about reporting to work

As edu dept shuts down after Covid-19 cases, other staff worried about reporting to work

Several divisions and sub-divisions of the UT engineering department operate from the additional deluxe building where the education department is located and share space on some floors with education staff.

chandigarh Updated: Jul 06, 2020 23:54 IST
Health department workers takingeducation department employees working at the UT Secretariat in Chandigarh’s Sector 9 for sampling for Covid-19.
Health department workers takingeducation department employees working at the UT Secretariat in Chandigarh’s Sector 9 for sampling for Covid-19. (Keshav Singh/HT)

Even as the UT administration’s education department closed down offices on July 5 and on July 6 directed staff to work from home until the workplace was sanitised as nine of its employees tested positive for Covid-19, it was work as usual for other departments in the same building at the UT Secretariat in Sector 9.

Several divisions and sub-divisions of the UT engineering department operate from the additional deluxe building where the education department is located and share space on some floors with education staff.

The secretariat also has a deluxe (main) building

Executive engineers of public health divisions (3 and 8) and their sub-divisions; executive engineers of electrical divisions (1 and 2) and their sub-divisions; and executive engineers of civil divisions (1, 4 and 6) and their sub-divisions also work in the same building.

Staff interact constantly with other departments

Balwinder Singh, president of the Subordinate Services Federation, Chandigarh administration, and Municipal Corporation Employee Union, said, “The staff of both the departments share the same space, and because of this there is constant interaction between them. Work from home directions should be similar for both the departments. The office rooms are small and social distancing norms are harder to practice.”

Stating that the union had earlier also requested officials to strictly enforce screening at the entry of the building and ensure social distancing norms, Singh, said, “Even though staff has been stationed at the entry gate for screening of people coming to the building, it is very slack. Both of these are public dealing departments.”

Slack screening a matter of concern

Employees at the main UT secretariat building (deluxe), too, criticised the slack screening at entry gates, and crowded office rooms where they said social distancing was not possible.

Meanwhile,there was panic at the additional deluxe building as news of more positive cases came in and most of the engineering department staff left early.

When contacted, Mukesh Anand, UT chief engineer, said no directions for work from home had been issued to the department staff and offices in the building had not been sealed. “We have asked the office-in-charges to call minimally required personnel. We have also asked them to sit in the deluxe building till sanitisation is undertaken,” said Anand.

Concerned over the rising Covid-19 cases in the city, Punjab governor and UT administrator VPS Badnore, on Monday, tweeted, “The increase in Covid positive cases in Chandigarh is worrying; stringent steps are being taken to combat the situation inflow of patients without formal reference to PGIMER (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research)needs to be monitored.”

Also during his s interaction with the deputy commissioners of Panchkula and Mohali in Monday’s war room meeting, Badnore urged the neighbouring states to treat patients without severe illness.

ht epaper

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