Tuesday 24 March 2020

Appeal to Chief PMG, Odisha Circle for complete closure of Post and RMS Offices in Odisha Circle to contain spread of COVID-19

No. P3NFPE-Odisha/12 - 03/2020
Dated at Bhubaneswar the 24th  March, 2020
Sj. Subash Chandra Barmma, IPoS
Chief Postmaster General, Odisha Circle
Bhubaneswar – 751 001

Sub:- Appeal for complete closure of Post and RMS offices to contain spread of Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19)
Ref.-   C O letter No. ML/Misc-2017, dated 23.03.2020          

Respected Sir,
Inviting a kind reference to this Circle Union letter dated 16.03.2020, 19.03.2020 and 22.03.2020 conveying various suggestions / issues in connection with preventive measures to be taken for containing spread of COVID-19, we do regret to intimate that in spite of our repeated requests, we were not properly responded till date though all the ‘B’ and ‘C’ class offices have been ordered to be closed with suspension of door delivery by postmen staff vide C O letter under reference.

It is regretted that the above order of the Circle Office have been implemented differently by different Divisional heads as per their sweet will violating the spirit of the letter. Illustratively, SSPOs, Cuttack City has created some link offices against the post offices, which were ordered to be closed. There is no instruction in the C O letter under reference to act as such. 

In addition we noticed the following deficiencies in the C O letter under reference.

1.    The B Os, initially ordered to be closed in toto, were subsequently ordered to be kept open. This will affect the work of the concerned Account offices when opened on restoration of normalcy. The SPMs will be over burdened which will be a punishment to them after normalcy.

2.    No instruction is seen to be issued in favour of the officials of the post offices  ordered to be closed which has created  strong resentment amongst the staff members of other offices ordered to remain functional. The order is not impartial.

3.    No instructions are seen to be issued for MPCM and S B transactions. When Railways, Road Transports, Airlines etc have been completely suspended, booking of articles without transmission is meaningless.

While the restrictions imposed by the Govt. of Odisha during this lockdown period till 29.03.2020 is becoming harder day by day with every possibility to be extended further on one hand, the police on duty on the roads are not allowing  our employees on the other for coming to office showing the identity card even.  In addition, they are also not granting permission in favour of the employees ordered to work in various post offices in skeletal mode as instructed vide C O letter under reference. Illustrative, as Postmaster Sahidnagar MDG, we have prepared a duty chart of employees till 29.03.2020 and requested the Officer-on-Duty, Sahidnagar Police Station for granting permission to the officials so ordered. But they straightway refused to accept the letter. As a result, the situation is being confused creating lots of embarrassment amongst the operative staff members.

In addition, till date no uniform circular was issued either by Circle Office or by any Divisional Head baring one or two for supplying / purchasing adequate preventive materials like mask, sanitizer, glove, hand-wash etc. to post offices. We are extremely sorry to intimate that while the officials of the Post Offices are working under every apprehension to be contaminated at anytime by anybody visiting the post offices, the administration does not think it proper to respond to the union on the nature of action taken so far against the issues raised by us. It is highly unappreciable and regretted.

The partial closure of post offices in Odisha Circle is meaningless. It is needless to intimate that as many as 25000 postal employees working in 8172 post offices across the state of Odisha (Except 220 ‘B’ and ‘C’ class post offices closed in urban / sub-urban areas) do interact with hundreds of customers daily in each post office at the counters and handle innumerable of mails coming from various sources including foreign mails both in Post and RMS Offices in a hazardous condition and now in the present scenario they are quite vulnerable to the Novel Corona Virus. This may be the condition of 5 lakh postal employees and workers working in 1.55 lakh post offices across the country interacting with lakhs of customers and handling crores of domestic, national and international mails with dust and unknown viruses. As a result, these offices, if not locked down may become the maternity home for COVID-19 and the sincere efforts taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 both by the Govt. of Odisha and Central Govt. may be futile.

As per latest updates till writing of this letter, Corona virus has infected more than 3,83,000 people and killed more than 16,585 across the world. Positive cases in India have surged to 512 with 10 death cases. The virus is spreading actively. When the whole nation is united to fight against the deadly virus, we should not help the spread of corona virus by opening the post offices.

Therefore, before the Post and RMS Offices become the maternity home for COVID-19, we would like to demand for their complete closure in the interest of the nation, public and the employees till restoration of normalcy or otherwise without any further delay.   

Expecting your kind immediate action to contain the spread of COVID-19.

With regards.
Yours faithfully,

(Bruhaspati Samal)
Circle Secretary &
Chairman, NFPE, Odisha State CoC

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