Mamata allows more concessions in her lockdown with ‘human face’ | India News

KOLKATA: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday allowed more concessions in the state as part of her lockdown plan with a “human face”, balancing life and livelihood with a special focus on sectors that engage the largest number of daily labourers.
And, like she has done before, she reiterated the importance of strictly following social distancing norms in the collective effort to win the war against Covid-19.
The chief minister, while not compromising with any of the “hotspots” — as designated by the Centre in its list of 170 districts across the country, of which four are in Bengal: Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore — preferred to call them “sensitive” areas or zones. “I urge the police to make doorstep delivery of food items in the sensitive zones that require micro-planning,” she said at Nabanna on Wednesday, wearing the now-mandatory mask. Banerjee spent a part of her press meet to show how one should cover one’s nose and mouth, even while spending time with family members, and also how the masks could be made at home with various kinds of cloth available readily in most households.
The CM, however, took no chances with the health of school children. As announced earlier, the state’s schools, she repeated, would remain shut till June 10. She said the three HS papers that had to be suspended would be held in June and announced automatic promotion for Class XI students, similar to the earlier-announced move of promoting students between Classes I and VIII. For college and university students, too, she had a relaxation: instead of holding examinations after each semester, teachers will start giving lessons for the next semester; and students will have to take exams after the final semester.
Banerjee has given the most relaxations in daily-labour-intensive sectors, such as road construction, real estate, irrigation and public health engineering. “Contractors may engage MNREGS workers in the job,” she said. She also opened up daily job opportunities for labourers in the rural sector, apart from crop harvesting, by relaxing norms in the construction of dwelling units, water harvesting operations, plantation in nurseries and rural industrial units. And she threw open brick kilns, which engage a huge number of daily-wage earners.
Following a letter from the Jute Corporation of India, the CM directed all jute mills in the state to resume operations with a 15% workforce. Similarly, tea gardens can start the process of plucking leaves with a limited workforce.
For industrial estates, Banerjee had a rider: individual industrial estates have to write to the chief secretary seeking relaxations for operations. “The chief secretary will examine each proposal and give a go-ahead on a case-to-case basis,” she said.
Taking note of the MHA guidelines over the functioning of government offices, the CM rolled out a duty schedule for state government officers. “State government officers of the rank of deputy secretary and above have to attend office on alternate days,” she said. She also asked Swasthya Bhavan to prepare a rotational duty roster for doctors, nurses and paramedical staff on 24×7 duty in government hospitals.

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