WITH AN office-bearer in the civic body testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the PMC staff has raised concerns over attending meetings convened by office-bearers, who move around freely in the city.
On Wednesday, the office-bearer and her husband tested positive for the virus. The office-bearer had been visiting her civic office in the main building and was also attending various meetings. She was also present at the meeting called by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in Mumbai on Tuesday.
“The contact tracing of the office-bearer has started and the list of her close contacts is being prepared for testing, based on the time she spent with them. We have identified four civic staff in her office and eight persons from the family for testing,” said Vaishali Jadhav, Assistant Medical Officer.
The office-bearer had gone to Mumbai in a separate vehicle and did not share it with anyone else. Also, it has been learnt that distancing was strictly followed during the meeting, which lasted 15 minutes. “There was no cause for concern as the meeting was held for short time and distancing was strictly followed along with masks,” said another civic officer.
The meeting was attended by a Rajya Sabha MP, two NCP legislators from the city and senior officers of the state urban development department.
But, the incident has raised an alarm among civic staff. “It is improper for the office-bearers to hold meetings. There are multiple meetings taking place in the civic body,” he said, adding that the administration was already busy with Covid-related works and making them attend meetings was putting them at risk.
Earlier, a relative of the elected representative had tested positive leading to panic among the members of the family. Also, another office-bearer with Covid-19 symptoms had raised an alarm but tested negative.
Elected representatives of all political parties initially stayed away from the public but had to step out to help those in distress. They were involved in distributing ration kits, cooked food to the needy and, recently, distribution of masks and sanitiser to residents of their electoral area.
The PMC has postponed general body meetings to avoid large gatherings. However, the membership of corporators is cancelled if they fail to attend three general body meetings in a row, as per provisions of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act. So, the PMC had convened the general body meeting on Wednesday and adjourned it immediately after elected representatives registered their attendance.
“The only intention of holding the general body meeting was to ensure that corporators do not lose their membership, as per law,” said Mayor Murlidhar Mohol while adjourning the meeting.
To date, 108 civic staff, 79 permanent and 29 on contract, have tested positive for the virus, while 10 have died due to the infection. As many as 45 staff members are undergoing treatment, while 53 have been cured and discharged.
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