Mumbai: BMC plans to bring back 50% attendance norm for private firms

With the resurgence of coronavirus cases across the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) now plans to reintroduce the COVID-19 norm of allowing 50 per cent attendance in private offices. The civic body in March 2020 had asked private firms in the city to function "only at 50 per cent of their staff capacity or face action under Section 188 of the IPC", with the rising number of cases civic officials are planning to check if firms are following the norm.

The development comes in the wake of rising coronavirus positive cases in the state and Mumbai as well. The city for two days in a row reported over 1,100 new COVID-19 cases.

The BMC earlier this week said that if COVID norms are not followed at social gatherings, due action will be taken against the attendees, organisers, and management. This followed by FIR being lodged against a few for violating COVID norms. Not only this but penalising those venturing in public places without facemasks has increased. The civic body has scaled up containment measures.

"We will be reiterating the 50 per cent attendance norm in private offices. We are not imposing any new norm, but bringing back the one that was issued in March last year when the pandemic started hitting the city. We will ensure that private offices and companies are working at 50 per cent of their total capacity. At the civic offices we cannot bring down the attendance or have staggered work timings as all our staff are engaged in essential duties," said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health)

According to the norm, disobeying an order of a public servant under Section 188 can lead to a punishment of six months jail or fine or both. The municipal commissioner is empowered to issue such an order under Rule 10 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. According to him the enforcement of this would be done by the Assistant Municipal Commissioners (ward officers) who would be visiting several companies in the city to check whether the order is being enforced or not.

"People living in non-slum areas and high rises started travelling by train services resumed for all. This has led to cases in the non-slum and high rises plummeting. We need to ensure that social distancing and other covid protocols are followed," added Kakani.

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