In the wake of continuously rising COVID-19 cases, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Personnel, Public Grievances, Dr Jitendra Singh on Sunday said that pregnant women employees and Divyang (differently-abled) employees of central government departments have been exempted from attending office. However, they will be required to remain available and work from home.
According to an official release issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the Union Minister said all officials and staff living in the containment zones will also be exempted from coming to office till the time containment zones are denotified.
The Central government restricted the physical attendance of government servants below the level of Under Secretary to 50 per cent of the actual strength and asked the remaining 50 per cent to work from home. A roster will be prepared accordingly by all the departments concerned, said the Minister.
However, the Minister said, the officials and staff who are not attending the office and are working from home shall remain available on the telephone and other electronic means of communications at all times.
Given the rapid spread of the viral infection, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) issued an office memorandum regarding COVID protocols to be followed while in office.
New Guidelines issued by DoPT
- In the Office memorandum, officials are asked to conduct meetings as far as possible through video conferencing.
- Avoid personal meetings with visitors, unless absolutely necessary.
- To avoid overcrowding in the office premises, the official and staff have been asked to follow staggered timings from– (a) 9 am to 5.30 pm and (b) 10 am to 6.30 pm.
- All the officers/staff are advised to ensure strict compliance of COVID-appropriate behaviour, that is, frequent washing of hands/sanitisation, wearing face mask/face cover, and observing social distancing all the time.
- Proper cleaning and sanitisation of the workplace, particularly frequently touched surfaces, may also be ensured.
Singh said that the guidelines issued as per the DoPT office memorendum will remain in force till January 31. In the meantime, the regular review will be carried out from time to time and the guidelines may be revised accordingly depending on the situation.
48-hr-long weekend lockdown begins across J&K
In a bid to prevent the Covid-19 from spreading, the 64-hour-long weekend lockdown has begun across Jammu and Kashmir on Friday for the third straight week in the Union Territory.
The weekend lockdown was announced by the State Executive Committee (SEC) headed by the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir following the surge in the Covid-9 cases in Jammu and Kashmir from the past couple of weeks.
All the markets, business establishments and other non-essential services remained closed from the afternoon erewhile public traffic was also off the roads.
However, policemen at different places were seen implementing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as a number of persons who were found without face masks were fined. The commuters without face masks were also being fined, witnesses said.
The lockdown will continue till Monday morning.
Pertinently, Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, has 260 Micro Containment Zones as a number of cases were detected from these localities.
Some politicians of Kashmir try to divide people, destroy Jammu: BJP leader Rana
Some politicians of Kashmir frequently visit Jammu to try to divide people, but they will not be allowed to succeed, senior BJP leader Devender Singh Rana said on Friday.
Batting strongly for an elected government in Jammu and Kashmir, he also said that bureaucratic governance could not replace a political government.
Rana, who left the National Conference and joined the BJP last year, said, ”Those politicians who come here (Jammu) from Kashmir and try to divide people in Jammu will not succeed in destroying Jammu in the way they destroyed Kashmir.” The people of Jammu live in peace and will continue to live in communal harmony and brotherhood, the former legislator asserted at a function here.
”But we want the voice of Jammu to be strengthened, and Jammu should get its rights. So we will continue to fight for our rights. There will be no compromise,” he said.
In 2019, Jammu and Kashmir were reorganised into a Union Territory, and its administration is led by a lieutenant governor (L-G). However, bureaucratic governance is no replacement for a political government, Rana said.
”Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is a veteran politician. He has been MP six times and has also been a minister. So he has a lot of experience in governance. The administration is being run in a good way,” he said.
”The bureaucracy in Jammu and Kashmir is efficient. They are hard-working people. We are proud of the bureaucracy and police in Jammu and Kashmir,” Rana said.
Speaking on the need for an elected government, he said people have an easy reach to elected representatives and are responsible for the people.
”They (elected representatives) are the bridge,” the BJP leader said.
Rana said that leaders of different political parties should play their roles and become bridges between the people and the administration to resolve problems.
”They should listen to the voice of the people. Then, they should take up issues raised by the people with the government and find their resolution,” he said.
Rana said that unemployment is the biggest issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
”We want opportunities of jobs and employment,” he said.
Replying to a question about the prospects of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in forthcoming assembly elections there, Rana said that the BJP would win over 300 seats and be in the majority.
”There is peace and normalcy in Uttar Pradesh, as seen during the rule of the BJP. The era of development has started in the state”, he said.
Congress only secular option for people of J&K: Bhalla
JKPCC Working President Raman Bhalla Friday said that the Congress party is the only secular alternative acceptable to J&K and urged its cadres to strengthen it. This was stated by former Minister Bhalla while taking stock of the organizational affairs and activities in the Jammu region and urged upon the party cadres to work for the wellbeing of the people, as the Congress is the only secular alternative acceptable to people in J&K. He described Congress party as a vibrant situation in J&K and asked the party cadres to strengthen Congress under the young and dynamic leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
He urged the cadres to strengthen the Party and expose the failures and wrong policies of the BJP govt in J&K, which is responsible for the current situation prevailing in J&K.
Bhalla, while speaking on occasion, expressed grave concern over the highly volatile situation in J&K, describing it as fall out of wrong policies adopted by both J&K and Central Governments as a result, the situation has turned from bad to worse, besides vitiating the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity in the State, especially in Valley. He also apprised the gathering about the Congress party’s efforts to restore peace. However, the situation in the Valley is so grim, but the Congress party is working for peace. “Congress Party being the only unifying force in the country and State will continue to work for peace and stability,” he said.
Reiterating that Congress has more enormous responsibilities at the national and international level, the former Minister today claimed that his Party was the only alternative before the people of Jammu and Kashmir for getting their regional aspirations fulfilled. He said that Congress is the only option left before the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said people have bitter experience of Double Engine Govt of BJP.
Bhalla alleged that BJP betrayed the massive mandate of Jammu & by dividing and downgrading the Princely Historical state of Jammu and Kashmir into 2 Unions territories. He said the people of Jammu & Kashmir feel deceived & disgusted by BJP’s uncalled-for moves in J&K. The people of Jammu, especially youth, feel robbed of their jobs land BJP has pushed the people towards Identity & Culture crisis. PCC leader said it is extraordinary that on the 5th of August 2019, two UT’s were carved out of Princely State Jammu and Kashmir, and Domicile replaced Ladakh and PRC. To protect jobs of youth, land, Identity & Culture, the people of Ladakh rejected it and were given a permanent resident certificate. Bhalla demanded that the people of Jammu and Kashmir also be granted permanent resident certificates instead of Domicile so that jobs, land, culture and identity of Jammu and Kashmir be saved. People of Jammu and Kashmir are fed up with the hollow slogans and Jumla politics of BJP.
Bhalla said that J&K had had peculiar issues since independence because of its geography and cultural diversity, and these concerns cannot be addressed while sitting in New Delhi. Maintaining that State BJP has no effective leader and has been exposed because of their misdeeds during the last seven years, he stressed that Congress was the only and most suitable alternative for a Government in Jammu and Kashmir State. In this situation, BJP’s target of 50 people will also show that their claim of 50 is a big Jumla. People will give their full support to the Congress is a time tested Party that can feel the pulse of the people and fulfil the genuine urges and aspirations of the people, especially youth. He also demanded full-fledged statehood for Jammu and Kashmir before holding Assembly Elections to give statehood after elections is just to put the cart before the horse.
Bhalla claimed that Congress, during its tenure, had proved how to provide pro-people governance to the people by bringing total transparency and accountability in the functioning of the Government. We set an example of good governance during Congress’s regime wherein every individual was provided with the equal opportunity of growth and development”, he said. Reiterating his resolve to institutionalize transparency and accountability in the governance, Bhalla said that Congress had shown the way for strengthening democratic and constitutional institutions in the State by initiating various revolutionary steps during its tenure in power. Complimenting people for their patience, Bhalla said that the trust and confidence shown by people in his Party was the guiding force to transform Jammu and Kashmir as an island of peace and prosperity. However, Bhalla urged the centre to grant Jammu and Kashmir statehood and then conduct elections. “Don’t make the mistake of carrying out delimitation first and then giving statehood,” he said. Our demand remains that first statehood should be granted and that should be followed by-elections,” he said.
Bhalla said that the State had lost a great lot since its division. “We were told that the scene in Jammu & Kashmir will change after making J&KUT and Growth, hospitals, unemployment will be taken care of. But that has not happened at all. Bhalla said we were far better off when various chief ministers were ruling it. So, we are a great loser. After the State’s division into two parts, we have been a great loser. We have been a great loser ever since the Assembly was dissolved,” he added.
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- 48-hr-long weekend lockdown begins across J&K January 29, 2022
- Some politicians of Kashmir try to divide people, destroy Jammu: BJP leader Rana January 28, 2022
- Congress only secular option for people of J&K: Bhalla January 28, 2022
- Ranjji Trophy to be held in two phases: BCCI January 28, 2022
- Five fresh COVID deaths, 4,354 new cases in J&K January 28, 2022
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