Lockdown 3.0: RWAs divided over calling domestic helps to work

The Delhi government had on Sunday-- in line with a Union home ministry order-- allowed self-employed workers such as domestic helps, cooks, laundrymen, plumbers and electricians to resume work from Monday during the lockdown that has been extended with certain relaxations till May 17.
Many residential societies in Dwarka have decided to wait for a few more days.(Vipin Kumar/HT photo. Representative image)
Many residential societies in Dwarka have decided to wait for a few more days.(Vipin Kumar/HT photo. Representative image)
Updated on May 04, 2020 11:10 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondents

On Monday, as their neighbourhood was finally ‘de-contained’ after almost a month, residents of Bengali market, Babar Road, Todarmal Road and nearby areas in central Delhi asked their domestic helps to resume work.

Though a few of them did turn up to work immediately, resident welfare association (RWA) members said most of them would start coming from Tuesday.

The Delhi government had on Sunday-- in line with a Union home ministry order-- allowed self-employed workers such as domestic helps, cooks, laundrymen, plumbers and electricians to resume work from Monday during the lockdown that has been extended with certain relaxations till May 17.

Local authorities or police are not monitoring the movement of domestic helps, as they come under the ambit of self-employed people and are exempted by the government. Though the government has not empowered RWAs to keep a check on it, in most areas the welfare associations are requesting people not to allow domestic helps.

“We have asked them to resume work. We plan to get their medical examination done at the local dispensary before they start work. We will request the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) for help,” said YK Anand, president of Babar Road and neighbouring RWAs.

He said, “A large number of people here are senior citizens and it is difficult for them to work without domestic helps. All residents have been asked to take precautions at home while allowing these people to work.”

In Lajpat Nagar, too, a lot of households allowed domestic workers. Gopal Thapa, a cook, said his employers are maintaining proper precautions. “My employers are following social distancing and asking me to wear a mask when I am in the house. They ask me to wash my hands and sanitise them at regular intervals,” he said.

But not all RWAs are in favour of allowing domestic helps to return to work.

Many residential societies in Dwarka have decided to wait for a few more days. Sudha Sinha, president of Federation of CGHS Dwarka limited, said, “We have requested residents in all societies to wait till May 17. There is no harm in waiting for a while, especially now when cases are increasing every day.”

Poonam Arora, general secretary of the Federation of Alaknanda RWAs, too said, “We have paid our domestic helps full salaries for now. The choice has been left to individual households as to when they want their helps to come back to work. We have just requested people to avoid calling them in for the next few days.”

Badan Singh (68), a resident of East Delhi, who runs an ironing shop in south Delhi’s Amar colony, said he went to his shop on Monday but did not start work. He said police stopped him quite a few times on his way.

“The lockdown has been difficult as we did not have any money. We depend on our daily earnings to survive and have had to face a lot of problems. We somehow managed but just hope things are back on track soon,” he said.

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Friday, January 28, 2022