Bengaluru: The Karnataka government, after much dilly-dallying, has finally decided to allow 33 per cent of the workforce of the information technology (IT) and biotechnology (BT) companies to work from office after 20 April.
The limited workforce will have to strictly follow the protective measures against the novel coronavirus, said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa at a press briefing Saturday.
This comes a day after he told the media that the decision to allow a section of IT/BT companies to work from office will be taken after three days as there was a need to assess Karnataka’s Covid-19 situation.
On Friday, Yediyurappa categorically said that opening up of industries was not a decision but only an issue that was being considered by the government.
Whatever decision has to be made will be announced only on 20 April, he said.
But he didn’t wait for three days and came up with the decision Saturday.
The decision to allow over 30 per cent IT/BT workforce to rejoin office is significant in light of the fact that Karnataka, which is severely cash-strapped, has been trying every possible option to find ways to mobilise funds and resources as the national lockdown has hit the state’s economy severely.
Commute of employees via sanitised BMTC buses
During the press conference, the chief minister said employees commuting to office should come in buses that have been sanitised.
“Employees should be encouraged to work from home and if they are commuting to office, they should come in hired buses, which have undergone a thorough sanitisation process,” he said.
Since public transport is not plying in the wake of the lockdown, employees will find it difficult to commute to the office.
In order to ease this, the government has suggested that companies should avail the services of disinfected Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses to facilitate the commute of employees. It also said employees must follow relevant safety protocols, ensure cleanliness and social distancing.
‘Will continue to identify containment zones’
Permission was also granted for resumption of construction activities in the state.
To ensure the safety of the construction workers, the state has directed builders to allow the labourers to stay in the sites.
While the ban on inter-state and inter-district travel will continue, the Yediyurappa administration has decided to consider three districts — Ramanagara, Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural — as one district to facilitate movement of workers.
These districts have the largest chunk of construction and industrial labourers.
All government departments will also be allowed to work after 20 April, and the employees will be ferried via government and private buses.
While stressing that every possible precautionary measure must be taken by the industries that will be allowed to function, the chief minister also said they will continue to identify containment zones and activities will be permitted only in non-containment zones.
“We have decided to appoint an incident-commander for each of the containment zones assisted by the police and health officials. They will be responsible for containing crowd movement and providing basic amenities in those areas. Incident-commanders will have magisterial power,” said Yediyurappa.
Buffer zones will be created within a 3-km radius of the containment zones and people will be subjected to medical check-ups if need be.
“Spitting in public spaces is banned,” Yediyurappa added.
Karnataka has banned the sale of chewing gum since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, prohibitory orders will continue to remain in place until 3 May, and malls and showrooms will remain closed.
Wearing of masks in public spaces has been made mandatory. Senior citizens and those with underlying medical conditions have been asked to stay indoors for the next three months.
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