Like the Pune Municipal Corporation, the civic administration of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has waived Covid-19 tests for domestic helps, e-commerce and food delivery persons and workers in hotels, bars, retaurants and medical assistants or caregivers of senior citizens. At the same time, it has allowed shops supplying raw materials to manufacturing units to […]
Like the Pune Municipal Corporation, the civic administration of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has waived Covid-19 tests for domestic helps, e-commerce and food delivery persons and workers in hotels, bars, retaurants and medical assistants or caregivers of senior citizens.
At the same time, it has allowed shops supplying raw materials to manufacturing units to stay open but not waived Covid tests for industrial employees, which has not gone down well industry associations.
In his revised order issued late Saturday evening, Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil said, “Household helps, e-commerce employees, those who work in hotels, bars, restaurants are exempted from the mandatory RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests. Those who attend to senior citizens or ailing persons have also been given the exemption.”
The order has allowed opticians and mess operators to remain open from Monday to Friday from 7 am to 6 pm. The PCMC has allowed home delivery of wine over the same period.
While the industry has praised the move to allow shops supplying raw materials to manufacturing units to remain open, it has expressed unhappiness over the PCMC’s move not to waive Covid tests for industrial employees.
“We welcome the decision to allow shops supplying raw material to manufacturing units to remain open. This is indeed a very positive step. Such a decision was not taken even during last year’s lockdown. This decision will help in smooth functioning of industrial units involved in essential service,” said Abhay Bhor, president, Forum for Small Scale Industries Association. “But the PCMC order says these shops should operate on point-to-point and not be involved in retail sales. They should allow retail sales as many small scale industries need raw material on retail basis,” Bhor said.
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Sandee Belsare, president, Pimpri-Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association, said, “There are hundreds of shops like hardware,
consummables and steel which will benefit by the move. However, allowing shops only to sell raw material to essential industries is not the right move.”
Both Belsare and Bhor objected to the PCMC not exempting industrial employees from Covid tests. “We have no problem in getting Covid tests done. However, there is immense pressure on labs. It is taking four-five days for test reports to arrive. There is apparently a shortage of tests kits with labs. For so many days, we cannot keep our employees away. So, we urge PCMC exempt industrial employees from undertaking Covid tests,” said Belsare.
Bhor added, “Firstly, tests reports are getting delayed. Secondly, if 10-20 employees go together for tests and if one tests positive, the others will have to be isolated. Even otherwise, many workers are staying in the unit’s premises. If workers are not allowed to work without a negative Covid report, what is the purpose of keeping industrial units open?”
Belsare said when the PCMC is allowing only essential and export oriented firms to operate, how can they then prevent workers involved in essential work to turn up at workplaces? “This defeats the purpose of allowing essential units to function,” he said.
In a letter to the PCMC chief on Sunday, Belsare said, “Each and every industrial unit is following Covid norms…No worker is allowed inside unless his temperature reading is taken and hands sanitised. Inside industrial premises, too, social distancing is strictly followed. So, PCMC should not worry about Covid spread in industrial areas.”
Bhor said the PCMC has made it mandory to get workers vaccinated in 15 days. “It should then set up four to five vaccination centres in
MIDC area,” he said.
When contacted, the PCMC commissioner said, “I have not received any such request for exemption from industries…If they are making such a request, we will take a decision after considering all the aspects.”
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