Pune housing societies implement ad hoc Covid rules, residents voice discontent

Published on Jan 12, 2022 12:56 AM IST
Rising Covid cases across Pune have again led various housing societies to implement ad hoc rules, which do not comply with the government guidelines.
Rising Covid cases across Pune have again led various housing societies to implement ad hoc rules, which do not comply with the government guidelines. (HT (PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))
Rising Covid cases across Pune have again led various housing societies to implement ad hoc rules, which do not comply with the government guidelines. (HT (PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))
ByDisha Palkhiwala and Anuran Sadhu

Pune: The rising Covid cases across the city have again led to various housing societies implementing ad hoc rules, which do not comply with the government guidelines. Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has declared 31 micro-containment zones among which 28 are in housing societies. However, many other housing societies have implemented similar restrictions much to the dismay of several residents.

The entry and exit of maids, pets, and medical staff who come to treat patients have been restricted. While the rules have been introduced by some members of the societies themselves, other residents have voiced their indignation.

Some residents believe housing societies should follow rules issued by the local government. Shachin Bharadwaj, a resident of Marvel Fria, a housing society in Wagholi said, “The housing society authorities had implemented restrictions long before any government rules were issued in December and now with the rising cases, they have shut all facilities in the society.”

While the Maharashtra government has revised its previous circular and relaxed some of the restrictions imposed previously, some housing societies have decided not to change their rules. “The government has allowed gyms to run in 50% capacity, but the management at my housing society has shut the gym down. While I had already paid for these amenities here, now I also have to subscribe to a gym membership elsewhere,” said Shachin, a software engineer.

The maids working in different houses within the society have to bear the brunt of these ad hoc rules, as well. Certificate of double vaccination is often not enough and they are asked to produce negative RT-PCR test reports if any family member from the houses the maid works in tests positive for Covid-19.

“Only double vaccinated people are permitted within the society and we have closed all facilities like gyms, table tennis court, tennis court, badminton court, and football ground from January 5,” said Rahul Dabhade, chairman of Marvel Fria. The facilities will be reopened on January 16, after the situation is assessed.

The housing society authorities believe the ad hoc rules are for residents’ benefit. “We are implementing rules to reduce Covid cases in our society and we have seen a positive result,” said Dabhade. Some disgruntled residents, however, believe the authorities are in no position to decide rules that have not been issued by the government.

Another resident from Padmavilas, a housing society in Baner, said, “After going through the same pandemic for one and a half years, people should now be more sensible in fighting against it. Rules by PMC or PCMC must be the only rules applied.” Few others took to Twitter to voice their concern over authorities asking residents to quarantine for more than seven days, despite no government guidelines mentioning it.

Pune District Co-Operative Housing Societies and Apartments Federation has opposed the implementation of these ad hoc rules, as well. Suhas Patwardhan, the chairman of Pune District Co-operative Housing Federation said, “I have observed that there are various housing societies who implement their guidelines, but I appeal to them to only follow guidelines issued by the central, state, and local governments.”

PMC mayor Murlidhar Mohol said, “No housing society is allowed to implement their own rules. We have not come across any such societies till now, but if there are any we will look into the situation and, if needed, appropriate action will be taken.”

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