The BMC’s decision to resume biometric attendance at civic and government hospitals to check absenteeism has caused concern as fingerprint identification machines, touched by hundreds of employees, could become a potential coronavirus spreader.
A May 16 circular, signed by Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) Dr T P Lahane and Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal, states that biometric attendance in the government, as well as the civic hospitals for medical, non-medical, and para-medical staff, should be resumed as soon as possible. It further states that due care should be taken to wash hands with soap and water or sanitisers to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus disease.
Civic hospitals had suspended biometric attendance on March 16 soon after the outbreak of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, civic officials said the decision to recommence the biometric attendance system was taken in view of the irregular staff attendance.
“Biometric machines will help keep a record of employees, and rotation of duties can be rationalised to ease the pressure on staff working consistently for the last two months,” the official said.
However, officials also expressed concerned that the machines themselves could pose a risk — first, its touch mechanism, and second, the queues of staffers waiting to mark attendance that it may trigger.
“The central government had cancelled biometric attendance system and there is no biometric presence in reputed hospitals, like AIIMS. I would request the Maharashtra government not to play with the lives of medical officers and staffers,” RTI activist Anil Galgali said.
Joint Municipal Commissioner, General Administration department, Milind Sawant, was not available for comment.
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