New Delhi: At a time when several states have gone under complete lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak, over 150 Indian Revenue Service (IRS) trainee officers at the National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT) in Nagpur were left in the lurch Sunday, with the authorities asking them to leave the campus by Monday morning.
Many of the trainees told ThePrint, on the condition of anonymity, that they had been asking the authorities to allow them to go to their homes for over a week now, but were then told “not to panic unnecessarily”, and that the situation was under control.
However, as the country observed a voluntary curfew Sunday on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal, and several states announced a prolonged lockdown until 31 March, the NADT authorities asked the trainees to evacuate the campus, alleged the officers.
Maharashtra is among the states where multiple cities have now been locked down, including Nagpur.
ThePrint reached the NADT’s director general and additional director general via email for comment, but there had been no response till the time of publishing.
However, an official of the academy denied that the probationers have been asked to mandatorily leave.
“All we have said is that we cannot ensure that the mess is functioning, and those who can, should leave by tomorrow,” said the official, who didn’t wish to be named.
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Asked why the trainees’ request for work from home wasn’t granted earlier, the official said, “The academy is taking timely decisions that are in the best interest of all trainee officers.”
‘How do we go now?’
The probationers, including three from Bhutan, have been asked to return to NADT by 6 April, but with the caveat that the order can be extended if required.
An IRS probationer said the trainees had been repeatedly asking the authorities since early March to let them go home, but to no avail.
“Suddenly, today we are told, go home by tomorrow…All transportation is getting suspended, how do we go now?” the trainee said Sunday.
“They are saying that the mess won’t function, but isn’t it their responsibility to ensure that all probationers are taken care of during this crisis?” the trainee added. “How can their approach be so casual? Why did they not listen to us for 10 days when we said let us go? Till the afternoon, they said that they will keep conducting classes, then suddenly they tell us ‘just go’.”
A second trainee said there are also three probationers from Bhutan, who have been asked to go to the Bhutanese embassy in New Delhi.
“There is no arrangement done by the academy, they’ve just been asked to go there. This is a diplomatic shame!” said the second trainee.
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