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Updated on: Wednesday, January 05, 2022, 11:18 PM IST

Rail Unions write to ministry for suspension of biometric attendance after employees fall sick with Covid

Physical attendance of government employees below the level of Under Secretary shall be restricted at 50 per cent of the actual strength; inter-alia roster will be prepared accordingly.
Photo: Representative Image

Photo: Representative Image

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The railway unions are rallying one behind the other asking the Railway ministry to discontinue the biometric attendance system amid the Covid situation.

In the last two days, letters were written after the rail employees are falling sick with the Omicron and Delta variant of the Coronavirus. On January 5, the Railway Board has sent a letter to different rail zones across the country to take preventive measures to avoid the spread of Covid-19. This seems timely as, on Western Railway, there are 54 cases and 7 cases on Central Railway have been reported among the staff. On the WR, 46 cases have come forth only this month.

In fact, on January 5, the Personnel department of Western Railway cited letters from the Central government over the attendance of employees in order to take preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The Railway Board in Delhi also issued a circular to all General Managers, Zonal Railways and Production Units asking them to strictly comply with instructions given by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on January 3, towards preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“These instructions will be valid till January 31,” reads the letter signed by Railway Board officials about the same. FPJ had recently written about the demand made by the rail employees for discontinuing biometric attendance.

The ‘office memorandum’ issued by the Department of Personnel and Training states that persons with disabilities and pregnant women employees shall be exempted from attending office but are requested to work from home.

Physical attendance of government employees below the level of Under Secretary shall be restricted at 50 per cent of the actual strength; inter-alia roster will be prepared accordingly.

This comes at a time when the All India Railwaymen’s Federation wrote a letter to the Chairman and CEO of the Railway Board, V K Tripathi on January 4.

‘It is a well-known fact that there is sharp rise in Covid-19 cases during in the past few days in particular in Delhi and Maharashtra. The Central government has taken a decision to suspend biometric attendance of the staff in the offices with 50 per cent working from home. It would be appropriate that orders will also be issued by the Ministry of Railways to contain the spread of Covid-19,’ reads a letter signed by Shiva Gopal Mishra, General Secretary, AIRF.

The rail authorities here are already looking at introducing an RFID ID card based attendance system. This would allow their staff to simply tab into the access gate and walk in and out of the workshop; thus preventing employees from physically touching the attendance system. There are currently 61 active Covid cases on both WR and CR together.

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Published on: Thursday, January 06, 2022, 06:00 AM IST
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