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Karnataka allows 33% employees of IT/BT sector to work from office after 20 April

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File picture of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa | Photo: Shailendra Bhojak | PTI


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Bengaluru: The Karnataka government, after much dilly-dallying, has finally decided to allow 33 per cent of the workforce of the information technology (IT) and biotechnology (BT) companies to work from office after 20 April.

The limited workforce will have to strictly follow the protective measures against the novel coronavirus, said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa at a press briefing Saturday.

This comes a day after he told the media that the decision to allow a section of IT/BT companies to work from office will be taken after three days as there was a need to assess Karnataka’s Covid-19 situation.

On Friday, Yediyurappa categorically said that opening up of industries was not a decision but only an issue that was being considered by the government.

Whatever decision has to be made will be announced only on 20 April, he said.

But he didn’t wait for three days and came up with the decision Saturday.

The decision to allow over 30 per cent IT/BT workforce to rejoin office is significant in light of the fact that Karnataka, which is severely cash-strapped, has been trying every possible option to find ways to mobilise funds and resources as the national lockdown has hit the state’s economy severely.


Also read: Power struggle between two top ministers adds to Karnataka’s coronavirus troubles


Commute of employees via sanitised BMTC buses

During the press conference, the chief minister said employees commuting to office should come in buses that have been sanitised.

“Employees should be encouraged to work from home and if they are commuting to office, they should come in hired buses, which have undergone a thorough sanitisation process,” he said.

Since public transport is not plying in the wake of the lockdown, employees will find it difficult to commute to the office.

In order to ease this, the government has suggested that companies should avail the services of disinfected Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses to facilitate the commute of employees. It also said employees must follow relevant safety protocols, ensure cleanliness and social distancing. 

‘Will continue to identify containment zones’

Permission was also granted for resumption of construction activities in the state. 

To ensure the safety of the construction workers, the state has directed builders to allow the labourers to stay in the sites. 

While the ban on inter-state and inter-district travel will continue, the Yediyurappa administration has decided to consider three districts — Ramanagara, Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural — as one district to facilitate movement of workers. 

These districts have the largest chunk of construction and industrial labourers.

All government departments will also be allowed to work after 20 April, and the employees will be ferried via government and private buses.

While stressing that every possible precautionary measure must be taken by the industries that will be allowed to function, the chief minister also said they will continue to identify containment zones and activities will be permitted only in non-containment zones. 

“We have decided to appoint an incident-commander for each of the containment zones assisted by the police and health officials. They will be responsible for containing crowd movement and providing basic amenities in those areas. Incident-commanders will have magisterial power,” said Yediyurappa. 

Buffer zones will be created within a 3-km radius of the containment zones and people will be subjected to medical check-ups if need be. 

“Spitting in public spaces is banned,” Yediyurappa added.

Karnataka has banned the sale of chewing gum since the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders will continue to remain in place until 3 May, and malls and showrooms will remain closed. 

Wearing of masks in public spaces has been made mandatory. Senior citizens and those with underlying medical conditions have been asked to stay indoors for the next three months.


Also read: Everything is rotting, say Maharashtra and Karnataka farmers as shut markets spell doom


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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