AFTER remaining unaffected for over five months during the pandemic, Lavasa Hill City has reported the first cases of Covid-19, with two management staffers testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The management, however, said the two employees who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week are based in Pune, and although they had been staying in Lavasa from August 3, they used to visit Pune during the weekends.
The infected employees are being treated in Pune.
The district administration as well as Lavasa management are closely observing the situation.
“The two infections are among the employees and not the regular residents of the city. We are taking all the precautions to contain the virus,” said Chief Executive Officer Suresh Pendharkar,
Tahsildar of Mulshi, Abhay Chavan, said the local administration was aware about the infections and was observing the situation carefully.
A section of the employees at Lavasa Hill City, however, feel that they are being “forced” to work in the “dangerous environment”.
According to an employee, the management forced employees, who were staying in Pune and used to travel to Lavasa via a daily bus service for work, to shift to Lavasa to avoid daily contact with the city to avoid infection. The employee allged that the management continued to operate its office during the lockdown, and did not follow the district administration’s directive that only 30 per cent staff should be asked to attend office on any given day.
As per the employee, several of the workers started complaining of cough, fever, body ache after about two weeks, and two of them have now tested positive. “Despite this, the employees are being asked to come to office and work. There is no arrangement of hand sanitisers or basic equipment to monitor the health of those visiting the office. Everyone working here is afraid of catching Covid-19, but can’t raise their voice for fear of losing the job,” said the employee, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal.
Pendharkar, however, rubbished these allegations and maintained that the option of travelling from work from Pune was discontinued as the management “was not in a position to provide it” during the pandemic.
“We have provided them accommodation in the city and they can travel outside during weekends. We are taking all the standard precautions. The office is sanitised twice a day; everyone has to wear a mask; the washrooms have sanitisers for cleaning hands,” said Pendharkar.
He said the management has not violated any directives of the district administration. “In our area, we can work at full force and there’s no 30 per cent limitation. Also, most of those who are working are essential staff such as those working with the sewage system, garbage collection, power supply and other utilities, which are required to run a town. There are about a 1,000 persons residing here and we have to provide them basic amenities,” he said.
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