Mumbai: BMC ultimatum to staff not reporting for COVID-19 duties

Dipti SinghUpdated: Friday, June 05, 2020, 07:54 AM IST
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Mumbai: With Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation chief Iqbal Singh Chahal taking a tough stand against those health workers who have consistently failed to report for duty in civic hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic, the civic body has issued a final warning and a 72-hours ultimatum to class III and class IV workers to report to work or face dismissal. During a meeting on Thursday afternoon, the matter of absenteeism of class III and class IV workers of civic hospitals and dispensaries was discussed at length.

Following the meeting, BMC chief Chahal directed the civic officials and hospital authorities to dismiss those not reporting to work after a final warning. The BMC has also threatened such workers that it will appoint contract workers as their replacement if they fail to report to work within the next 72 hours. The issue of absenteeism of health workers has been reported at several civic-run health facilities in the city. A recent assessment placed the number of such workers at upwards of 90, according to sources.

"This has been hindering our efforts of providing uninterrupted service to Mumbaikars. Hence it was decided that those not performing their duty and remaining absent frequently will be dismissed. We have appealed to these workers several times. However, they have not heeded that. It is time that they take their work seriously and report for duty. If need be, we will be hiring workers on contract as their replacement in a bid to ensure uninterrupted service to the citizens," said Chahal.

"As a result of absenteeism of class III and class IV employees, proper management of the hospitals and health infrastructures across the city is becoming increasingly difficult, and the possibility of adverse effects on medical services cannot be ruled out. In view of both these factors, absentee employees are required to report for work immediately. They left us with no option but to take such stringent measures against their unruly behaviour,” said a senior BMC official There have been several incidents of dead bodies lying unattended next to patients in three of the major civic-run hospitals.

Besides, several complaints of unclean hospital wards have been reported on social media. The flak it received for these lapses prompted the civic body to take a firm stand against staff not reporting for duties. The BMC has previously made several appeals to these employees to report to work. In addition, official orders have been issued from time to time to them to remain present as per the service rules of the BMC. However, many employees still do not show up for work frequently. Therefore, a notice has been issued invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act.

The notice also states that employees who are 55 years of age or above and who have comorbidities will be given 'non-Covid' jobs. The meeting on Thursday was attended by Principal Secretary and Special Executive Officer of the Municipal Corporation - Manisha Mhaskar, Additional Municipal Commissioner (City) - Sanjeev Jaiswal, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Western Suburbs) - Suresh Kakani, all concerned Senior Doctors, Joint Commissioners / Deputy Commissioners of all Zones, Superintendents of Municipal Hospitals, Assistant municipal Commissioners of all wards, Senior Officials of Public Health Department.

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