Employees Term Govt’s Decision To Open Offices As ‘Suicide Mission’

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KO Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar: The employees in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday expressed strong resentment against the government’s decision to reopen the offices in the Union Territory in the midst of a pandemic and the lockdown imposed to combat the deadly disease.

Talking to Kashmir Observer, many government employees expressed serious reservations over the government’s move with some even describing it as a ‘suicide mission’. The employees questioned government’s wisdom of asking over 4 lakh employees to resume their duties when covid-19 cases are rapidly shooting up and the public transport is off the roads.

“The government is risking lives of employees and their families with their decision. How will the employees reach office in absence of transport? And how will they ensure social distancing at their work places. It is a suicide mission,” Riyaz Ahmad, an employee said.

An instructor at the government’s Industrial Training Institute (ITI) told Kashmir Observer that the government should first lift the lockdown and allow public transport to ply on the roads if the government believes Covid-19 situation in the Union territory is under control.

“My place of posting is roughly 30 kms from my residence. How will I attend my duties when I can’t see a single bus or a cab plying on the road?” she asked.

President, Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) Fayaz Ahmad Shabnam told Kashmir Observer that the government should have sanitized all the offices and made other necessary arrangements before asking the employees to attend their duties.

“And above all, the government should have thought how will the employees commute when the Valley is under lockdown. Even some employees from the middle class down have own transport, not to talk of Class-IV employees,” he said.

He said till the situation improves and public transport gets back on the roads, the employees should be allowed to work within their districts, as has been done in the case of Darbar Move employees.

“An employee from north or south Kashmir can’t attend his duty in Srinagar when transport isn’t available. And same is the case with employee from Srinagar posted in other districts of the Valley. The government needs to sort out this issue,” he added.

President, Urban Local Bodies Employees United Forum (ULBEUF), Manzoor Ahmad Pampori told Kashmir Observer that the employees will face a lot of difficulties in attending their duties in absence of transport facilities. He said the reopening of offices in one go will make social distancing norms ineffective.

“When staff attendance at the offices will be cent percent, how will social distancing be possible? And also, it is known fact that the cases surge tremendously when large groups of people assemble at any place,” he said, while raising eyebrows over the decision.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir PK Pole declined phone call by Kashmir Observer. However, he asked the reason for calling through text message. He did not reply to the text message about the issues raised by the employees

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