Senior staff in Tamil Nadu CMO succumbs to COVID-19; colleagues push for more safety measures
Chennai: A 56-year old senior private secretary in the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) has succumbed to COVID-19 in the early hours of Wednesday, after nearly a week of hospitalization. The secretariat staff said that, though he was not in direct contact with the Chief Minister, he was working in the Chief Minister’s chamber.
With over 200 COVID-19 positive cases across ranks said to be reported from the Secretariat alone, the employees have been requesting the government for increased safety measures and precautions. On a routine day, the Secretariat sees about 6,300 staff across various departments and ranks, but under the current circumstances, 50 per cent of this number are being permitted to work at the premises.
For about 10 days, the Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association has been pushing for having only 33 per cent workforce and restarting employees who are coming in from Red Zones.
However, this will be in place only from June 19 when the 12-day lockdown would be in effect in Chennai and the three adjoining districts of Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur. The 12-day lockdown guidelines require only 33 per cent of state and central government staff to report for work, whereas those residing in red zones will not be required to turn up for work.
Those working at the secretariat feel that the number of people reporting for work can further be limited to few critical and specific departments such as Public Works, Revenue Administration, Disaster Management, Rural and Municipal development etc.
“We request the government to provide a separate medical facility for testing and hospitalizing staff if required. Besides strict thermal scanning at entry points, they can distribute vitamin tablets and immunity-boosting herbal conceptions. More transport facilities and buses could be provided for staff. Employees aged above 55, in a vulnerable category, must not be required to report for work. We must work together and ensure that there are no more lives lost,” said Peter Anthonysamy, Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association president.