Maharashtra’s Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Kumar, 59, is the latest among senior bureaucrats in Maharashtra to catch the infection. At the epicentre of the pandemic, the state has so far reported 1,339,232 cases and 35,571 deaths.
Kumar said that he was in home isolation on the recommendation of the doctors and was operating from home.
The Chief Secretary and his staff had decided to undergo tests after one of the staffers tested positive. Kumar’s reports came positive on Sunday evening.
Earlier last week, Additional Chief Secretary (General Administration) Sujata Saunik had tested positive for the coronavirus and is under home isolation.
Mumbai’s additional municipal commissioner Ashwini Bhide and Sanjeev Jaiswal have also tested positive. Commissioner (Family Welfare) and Director of the National Health Mission N Ramaswami is also recovering from the infection.
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 administration has also made 100 per cent attendance of class A and class B officials in government offices mandatory from September 1 onwards.
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 the state secretariat and the congested seating and travel arrangements. At a time when further reopenings of the state economy are under consideration, the demand to pare down the government staff attendance to 50 per cent and to limit crowd movement inside the state secretariat is also under consideration. At least 16 people employed with the state secretariat have succumbed to the illness so far.
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