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RWAs in Gurgaon to face investigation if found imposing additional restrictions on residents

The guidelines state that “all activities” permitted by the MHA notification should be allowed by RWAs “without any hindrance or additional restrictions”

Directions have also been given to the RWAs regarding the manner in which they share information about those who test positive – a matter on which clarity was earlier missing (PTI/File)

Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) in Gurgaon will face “investigation”, with action being taken against their office bearers, if they are found to be introducing restrictions or measures beyond what has been laid out in the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for the second phase of ‘Unlock’ on June 29.

This has been stated in guidelines released by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), late Tuesday night, for RWAs, in effect until July 31. Addressing the issue of “additional restrictions” that RWAs in the city have become notorious for imposing over the last three months, the guidelines state that “all activities” permitted by the MHA notification should be allowed by RWAs “without any hindrance or additional restrictions”, except if their areas fall in containment zones or large outbreak regions.

“RWA can issue guidelines for internal governance of its residents and jurisdictional areas to combat spread of Covid-19 in their jurisdictions to the extent that they are not in violation or in excess of regulations issued by National/State Governments,” state the guidelines.

“RWAs to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Government in letter and spirit, failing which penal provisions as given in MHA notifications will be attracted against the responsible office bearers of the RWAs. Complaints from residents about RWAs introducing measures which go beyond the letter and spirit of MHA order…will be investigated thoroughly and action will be taken against the Office Bearers of the RWAs concerned wherever necessary,” they state.

The guidelines, at the same time, however, give several additional responsibilities to RWAs, seeking their cooperation to help “execute responsibilities of Covid-19 management”. Among other things, RWAs will now be responsible for identifying “vulnerable sections” such as pregnant women, and people with co-morbidities, and helping them in “availing essential goods and services”.

They will also be responsible for putting up ‘Home Isolation’ notices on behalf of the MCG outside the homes of those under home isolation, and for “enforcement of the isolation of other family members as per rules”. In addition, to further augment the health facilities in the district, RWAs have also been directed to set up community or condominium-based isolation centres for those who cannot manage home isolation as per the SOP issued by the Government. However, the latter is not mandatory, and has to be done only “wherever feasible”.

Directions have also been given to the RWAs regarding the manner in which they share information about those who test positive – a matter on which clarity was earlier missing. The MCG, in the guidelines, states that they have to “maintain confidentiality” of Covid-19 positive persons, and “not violate” their privacy. The details, hence, should be shared only with those who give a “duly signed undertaking and medical care givers’ ‘, and only after obtaining the consent of the Covid-19 positive persons.

Any breach of confidentiality and privacy of positive cases will be considered as violation of this undertaking”, state the guidelines, adding that, if any violations of these undertaking are confirmed after investigation, the “deponents” will be directed to “rectify” the violation immediately, “failing which this engagement will be terminated and appropriate action will be initiated.”

Tuesday’s guidelines also make some clarifications regarding movement of residents and staff in and out of housing complexes. In the context of the former, it has been stated that all residents “to be allowed” to “enter/exit” the gates for joining workplaces. For house helps, meanwhile the guidelines state that, apart from using face masks and thermal scanning and hand sanitisation at the entry gate, residents should be “persuaded” to make arrangement for their accommodation inside their houses “as far as possible” so as to avoid their daily movement for work. The guidelines, however, clarify that this is an “advisory”, not a “mandatory instruction”.

With regard to walks in common areas and parks, the guidelines clarify that these should be restricted by “staggering the morning and evening times” on the basis of “odd-even house number scheme” so as to avoid crowding and maintain social distancing”.

In compliance with the directions of the MHA during Unlock 2, the Gurgaon District Magistrate also issued orders imposing night curfew in the district until July 31.

“Movement of any individual other than for essential purposes including operation of industrial units in multiple shifts, movement of persons and goods on National and State Highways, loading and unloading of cargo and travel of persons to their destination after disembarking from buses, trains and airplanes shall henceforth remain restricted between 10:00 PM to 05:00 AM within the district until 31.07.2020.” states the order, adding that any violation will be “strictly dealt” with as per Sections 188, 269, and 270 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

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