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PCMC waives Covid tests for domestic helps and e-commerce staff; industry says exempt their workers as well

While the industry has hailed the move to allow shops supplying raw materials to manufacturing units to remain, it has expressed unhappiness over PCMC's move not to waive the COVID test to industrial employees.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
April 18, 2021 11:29:13 am
Both Belsare and Bhor strongly objected to the PCMC not exempting industrial employees from COVID tests.

Like the Pune Municipal Corporation, the civic administration of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has also waived COVID tests for domestic help, e-commerce and food delivery persons, and those who work in hotels, bars, restaurants and medical assistants or caregivers of senior citizens. At the same time, it has allowed shops supplying raw materials to manufacturing units to remain open but has not waived COVID tests for industrial employees, which has not gone down well the industry associations.

In his revised order issued late last evening, Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil said, “Household helps, e-commerce employees, those who work in hotels, bars, restaurants are exempted from the mandatory RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests. Those who attend senior citizens or the ailing persons have also been given the exemption.”

While the industry has hailed the move to allow shops supplying raw materials to manufacturing units to remain, it has expressed unhappiness over PCMC’s move not to waive the COVID test to industrial employees.

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“We welcome the decision to allow shops supplying raw material to manufacturing units to remain open. This is indeed a very positive step. Even during the last year’s lockdown, such a decision was not taken. This decision will have smooth functioning of industrial units involved in essential service,” said Abhay Bhor, president, Forum for Small Scale Industries Association. “The PCMC order however says these shops should operate on point-to-point and not involve in retail sale. They should allow retail sale as many small-scale industries need raw material on a retail basis,” Bhor said.

Echoing the views, Sandee Belsare, president, Pimpri-Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association, said, “There are hundreds of shops like hardware, consumables and steel which will be benefitted by the move. However, allowing the shops only to sell raw material to essential industries is not the right move.”

Both Belsare and Bhor strongly objected to the PCMC not exempting industrial employees from COVID tests. “We have no problem in getting COVID tests done. However, there is immense pressure on labs. It is taking four-five days for test reports to arrive. There is apparently a shortage of test kits with labs. For so many days, we cannot keep our employees away. Therefore, we urge PCMC to give exemption to industrial employees from COVID tests,” said Belsare.

Bhor said, “One, the tests reports are getting delay. Secondly, if 10-20 employees go together for tests and if one of them tests positive, others will have to be isolated. Even otherwise, many workers are staying in the unit’s premises. If workers are not allowed to attend the work without COVID negative report, what is the purpose of keeping the industrial units open.”

When contacted, the PCMC chief said, “I have not received any such request for exemption from industries…If they are making such a request we will take a decision after considering all the aspects.”

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