Sunday 22 March 2020

Circle Union writes once again to Chief PMG, Odisha / NFPE on Preventive Measures in connection with Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19)


No. P3NFPE-Odisha/11 - 03/2020
Dated at Bhubaneswar the 22nd March, 2020
The Chief Postmaster General
Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar – 751 001

Sub:-  Preventive Measures in connection with Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) -  reg

Ref.-   i. Appeal of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India dated 19.03.2020
            ii. Appeal of Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha dated 19.03.2020
            iii. DoPT OM No. 11013/9/2014-Estt..A.III, dated 16/17.03.2020 and 19.03.2020

Respected Sir,
This has a kind reference to this Circle Union letter No. P3NFPE-Odisha/04 - 03/2020, dated 16.03.2020 and 19.03.2020 on the above subject.

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.

As per latest updates till writing of this letter, Corona virus has infected more than 3,00,000 people and killed more than 13,000 across the world. Positive cases in India have surged to 341 with 6 death cases (Data Source : ICMR). In Odisha, out of 74 suspected cases, 2 have been found positive. With every seriousness to maintain social distancing and to prohibit community contamination, India is observing 14-hour lockdown (JANATA CURFEW) from 7 AM to 9 PM on 22.03.2020 after Hon’ble Prime Minister’s appeal for the same on 19.03.2020. Going one-step ahead, the Govt. of Odisha has now locked down 5 districts and 8 cities in Odisha till 29th March, 2019.

During the above complete lockdown period in the districts of Khurda (of which Bhubaneswar is a part), Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapada, Angul besides the towns of Puri,  Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Jajpur Road, Jajpur town and Bhadrak  from 7 am on 22.03.2020 to 9 PM on 29.03.2020, there is strict ban on movement of private vehicles. In case of emergency, an individual has to obtain prior permission from police for his/her unavoidable movement. The police personnel are seen charging the common citizens who are moving on the streets with their vehicles during the lockdown period. Addressing the people, both the Hon’ble Prime Minister and our Chief Minister have told  that time has come for us to take the extraordinary step and sacrifice to protect our nation/state and our people. Both the lockdown period and the identified districts / cities may be extended on review by the State Govt. as told.

Under the circumstances, it is quite evident that the postal employees will certainly find it difficult to reach the Post Offices which are functioning under emergency services during this lockdown period in Odisha.

In addition, it has also come to the notice of this Circle Union that many Circle Heads have already issued orders for closure of some post offices and adopted roster duty in some cases as illustrated below.

i.              Delhi Circle has ordered for closure of all Post offices except some important offices like Head Post Offices, Delivery Post Offices and POs functioning in Govt. buildings with instruction to closed Post offices for displaying a notice on the closed door regarding particulars of the nearby Post Offices on availability of postal services. It has also been ordered to issues a weekly roster on adequate staffing of the Post offices so that no staff member is put to inconvenience. As known to us, 23 such post offices have been ordered to be closed by SSPOs, New Delhi Central Division with effect from 21.03.2020 until further orders. Similarly Delhi East Division has closed down 30 offices from 21.03.2020 to 04.04.2020.

ii.            Similarly Kerala Circle has ordered closure of all NDSOs from 21.03.2020 to 04.04.2020 except some important offices like Head Post Offices, MDGs, Delivery Post Offices and POs located / attached in Govt. buildings.

iii.           SSPOs, Mumbai North Division has ordered some offices to function on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and some on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

But, we do regret to intimate you that Odisha Circle is not at all expediting its activities on the issue in spite of our repeated requests while the Govt. of Odisha is ahead amongst all other states in the country. It is needless to say that the Counter PAs, the Sorting, Despatch and Delivery staff members both in POs and RMS offices are working in a hazardous condition and now in the present scenario they are quite vulnerable to the Novel Corona Virus.

Therefore, before the Post and RMS Offices become the maternity home for COVID-19, we would like to demand for taking positive decision on the following issues immediately with effect from 23.03.2020 till restoration of normalcy or otherwise without any further delay on any ground in addition to a fruitful negotiation with the Staff Side on Monday (23.03.2020) positively since any kind of further delay may be hazardous for all of us and the society.

1.    To close down all single-handed Non-Delivery Post Offices in Odisha Circle including all the post offices functioning in the hospital campuses irrespective of the status of the concerned Post Office.

2.    To order for roster duty in delivery post offices adding the staff members of closed post offices.

3.    To arrange supply of adequate preventive materials, viz. mask, glove, sanitizer etc. to all staff members coming on duty besides authorizing all SPMs / Postmasters to purchase such materials with necessary financial approval. If necessary, this may be taken with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of Odisha with request to arrange supply of preventive hygienic materials (now not easily available in the open market) to all Divisional heads for distribution to the post offices.

4.    To arrange for thermal scanning of the each customers coming to the post offices.

5.    To arrange supply of adequate leaflets, banners, posters etc. containing awareness messages to contain spread of COVID-19 to all post offices.
6.    To stop functioning of delivery through PMA and opening of IPPB Accounts.

7.    To fix glass panels in the counters of all post offices under Project Arrow, Phase-I and Phase-II (e.g. Bhubaneswar GPO, Ashoknagar MDG, Sahidnagar MDG etc) which are kept open and allowing customers to create unnecessary crowd without coming in queue.
8.    To modify the SAP Employee Portal suitably in CSI to accept application for Commuted Leave without Medical Certificate as now relaxed in CCS (Leave) Rules, 1972 vide DoPT OM No. 11013/9/14-Estt (A.III), dated 20.03.2020 and till then employees who are willing to avail such leave may be permitted if applied through eMail/Hard Copy.

9.    To treat the absence during the above lockdown period, reported if any by any official by any means finding it difficult to reach office due to restrictions imposed by the Govt. of Odisha to obtain proper permission from police authorities. 

10. To arrange for supply of medicines to all beneficiaries of CGHS Wellness Centres in Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Cuttack in the first attendance or in the first indent if opted for purchase without any plea.

11. To instruct all Regional / Divisional / Unit Heads to act uniformly in this regard.

We hope, the Staff Side will be taken into confidence and our suggestions will be weighed properly.

Expecting your kind invitation for fruitful discussion and immediate action to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Confidently, together, we can.

With regards.
Yours faithfully,

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

Copy for kind information to Com. R N Parashar, Secretary General, National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE), North Avenue P O Building, New Delhi – 110 001. This has a reference to this Circle Union’s letter dated 16.03.2020 and 19.03.2020. As per available reports, the states of MaharashtraPunjabHaryanaTamil NaduBiharGujarat and  Karnataka are more vulnerable than Odisha. In addition to Odisha, Maharastra, Rajastan, Bihar and Punjab have joined the lockdown process till month end. But uniform decision is not seen to be taken by all Circle heads.  The Directorate should issue clear and uniform guidelines to all Circles immediately for closure of Post Offices or otherwise. He is requested to discuss the issue with the Secretary (Posts) immediately and arrange to issue orders from the Directorate for uniform implementation in all Circles. During discussion, our suggestions may be given priority.

(Bruhaspati Samal)
Circle Secretary, Odisha &
Organizing General Secretary, CHQ

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