The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to step up vigilance on the staff of its health department — which has been working to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the city since March last year — by making them register their every movement outside the office during working hours. The move has been met with discord by officers and members of the staff.
In his office order, civic health department chief Ashish Bharati noted that during office visits, many health officers and staff were not present at their desks or cabins during working hours. “Many of them report to office after 10.30 am and leave before 6 pm. Also, many officers and staff leave their desks or cabins during working hours without taking permission or informing their seniors,” Bharati said.
Last year, the PMC had introduced a five-day week for civic employees as per directions of the state government. The office hours have been changed to 9.45 am to 6.15 pm for all staff except for peons and class four employees, as they have to report at 9.30 am to open the office premises and close it at 6.30 pm on every working day. Bharati said, “All officers and staff have been instructed to be in office during working hours and while leaving it for official purposes, they should inform their respective seniors and register timings, details of work and return time in a separate register prepared for the purpose.”
Each in-charge of a civic health responsibility will have a register in their office for the staff working for them, he said, adding they have to control the movement of their respective staff members and submit a weekly report to the health chief. “The register for noting down the movement of officers and various in-charges has been kept in the office of the health chief. Thus, every movement from their desks or cabins with the purpose has to be noted in the register,” Bharati said.
“All assistant medical officers, administrative officers, veterinary superintendents are being informed that they should follow the office timings and inform the juniors reporting to them,” said Bharati. The concerned in-charges of various responsibilities also have report every month on those coming late to office and/or leaving office before closing time, he added.
The civic health chief’s instructions have not gone well with officers and staff of the health department. “The civic health staff have been working hard during the pandemic. We have put in extra hours from morning till late night for office work. The staff worked on weekly offs and public holidays without complaining as it was needed at the time. However, the civic health chief order raising doubts over the sincerity of the staff is not acceptable, as it would demoralise the civic staff and officers,” said a senior civic health officer.
He added, “The health department requires a lot of field work and attending meetings which are mostly unscheduled. Thus, it would be difficult to get civic works done if rules are put in on informing every movement to the civic health chief.”
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