Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday evening. Kumar (59) said that he was in home isolation on the recommendation of doctors and was operating from home.
He is the latest among senior bureaucrats in Maharashtra to catch the infection. Kumar and his staff had decided to undergo tests after one of his employees tested positive.
Last week, Additional Chief Secretary (General Administration) Sujata Saunik had tested positive for Covid-19 and is under home isolation. BMC additional municipal commissioners Ashwini Bhide and Sanjeev Jaiswal have also tested positive.
Further, Commissioner (Family Welfare) and Director of National Health Mission, N Ramaswami, is recovering after testing positive. In Mantralaya, the state secretariat, a senior bureaucrat complained that “many ministers had begun holdings meetings in congested rooms without practicing social distancing”.
Under ‘Mission Begin Again’ guidelines, the state had made 100 per cent attendance of class A and class B officials mandatory in government offices from September 1.
The Maharashtra State Gazetted Officers Federation, an outfit representing the official staff with the state government, has demanded withdrawal of the condition while pointing at the lack of adequate precautionary measures, especially at Mantralaya and the congested seating and travel arrangements.
At a time when further opening up of the state economy is on the cards, the demand to pare down government staff attendance to 50 per cent and to limit crowd movement inside Mantralaya is under consideration. At least 16 people employed with Mantralaya have succumbed to Covid-19 so far.
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