The Maharashtra government will take another day or two to release guidelines on the hot-button issue of allowing entry to domestic help and caregivers, drivers, vendors and other persons in housing societies. However, it has decided to crack the whip on those co-operative societies denying permission, by serving them show-cause notices.
Minister of Cooperation Balasaheb Patil admitted that some societies are reluctant to give a nod to the entry of domestic help, drivers and others. A set of guidelines will be shortly released, he said.
He told The Free Press Journal, "I have today (Tuesday) instructed the district deputy registrar to serve a show-cause notice to housing societies who will not follow the guidelines. I have already appealed to them to allow domestic help to resume work, so as to avoid inconvenience to residents, especially senior citizens.’’
Earlier, the Mumbai District Coop Housing Federation had come out with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). There are 1.10 lakh co-operative housing societies, of which there are 40,000 in Greater Mumbai, 30,000 in Thane and 19,000 in Pune.
As per the SOP, all 24-hour domestic help/caregivers are allowed, provided they can prove they are not coming from a containment zone and provide a medical clearance certificate. Once in, these helpers will be restricted from moving out of the premises and must necessarily reside in the society, unless there is a medical emergency. In such a case, the domestic help or caregiver would be obliged to inform the society.
The chairman of the federation, Prakash Darekar, told The Free Press Journal, "The SOP was issued as the state government, including the cooperation department has not issued one so far. We were of the view that some guidelines are required in the interest of housing societies and their members.’’ Further, he informed that the federation had urged Patil to issue a directive under section 79 of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies' Rule, 1960.
Darekar admitted that the office-bearers of some housing societies were scared to allow entry to domestic help and others, fearing Covid-19 infection.
As far as drivers are concerned, the federation said the former could drive residents’ cars only as far as the entry and exit gates but could not be permitted within the society. The onus of ensuring that the driver did not come from a containment zone would rest with the concerned residents.
In case of milk vendors, milk would have to be delivered at the security gate, while vegetable and fruit vendors could only halt outside the gate. In the event of heavy rain, arrangements would have to be made with permission from the managing committee.
For appliance repairs and servicing, the federation said the mechanic would have to send a copy of their Aadhaar card and furnish proof that they were not coming from a containment area. It would be compulsory for the service provider to wear gloves, mask and a face shield and no repair, renovation or interior work would be allowed except monsoon-related ones, with prior permission of the managing committee.
For residents who are returning from travel or other family members visiting home, the federation said residents should apprise the managing committee and the returnees should be advised a 14-day quarantine from the date of arrival.