Published On: Mon, Jun 8th, 2020

Unlock 1: Govt employees return to offices in West Bengal

Kolkata: Work resumed at different government departments in West Bengal on Monday after a gap of more than two months, with the state easing restrictions as part of ‘Unlock 1’, even as public transport system was yet to pick up pace in the city and beyond.

West Bengal government employees wearing face mask sit inside a bus in Kolkata, Monday, June 8, 2020.

According to a senior government official at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’, most of the departments witnessed almost 70 per cent attendance by noon, in line with the instructions issued by the Mamata Banerjee-led government.

Rosters have been prepared for the employees who would be attending offices on alternate days while strictly adhering to social distancing norms to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the official said.

“We have made all arrangements for the safety of our employees. Sanitisers have been provided at all departments. And the roster has been prepared in a way that would ensure employee attend office on alternate days. As the employees were informed about the roster in advance, they could make necessary preparations to reach offices,” he said.

Departments such as home, agriculture, marketing and finance have registered high attendance.

Similar was the scene at the health and education department offices in Salt Lake, he said.

Sources said the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), which had called for 100 per cent turnout from June 8, recorded almost full attendance.

Several employees from Nadia, South 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah and Medinipore, however, complained that they had a horrid time reaching office in the absence of train services.

“I and three of my colleagues hired a vehicle to reach Kolkata from Kakdwip today. We had to shell out Rs 5,000,” an employee at the state food department said.

Another employee at the education department, housed at Bikash Bhawan in Salt Lake, said he cycled down to office from Thakurpukur, covering around 25 km.

“I usually reach office by 10.15 am, and for that I board a bus by 8.30 am. Now that limited number of buses is plying the streets, I thought it”s best to cycle down… That way, I could avoid the crowd in buses,” he stated.

Some officials claimed that the government should make transport arrangements for them, without which they would be exposed to the risk of contracting COVID-19.

“We cannot spend thousands of rupees everyday to come to office. And even coming to office in government-run buses is a risky affair. We are scared of COVID infection,” an employee of the KMC tax department said.


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