No respite for govt employees during lockdown

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Mar 27: With the 2019-20 financial year coming to an end, a number of government employees are compelled to attend office and work despite the 21-day lockdown underway in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Centre has already directed most of the government departments to work with skeletal staffs. It has also allowed all employees to work from home, except those engaged in essential services and those directly engaged in taking measures to control Covid-19.
The Centre’s directive also instructed all heads of departments to draw rosters of staffs, comprising all officers and employees, including consultants and contract-based and outsourced employees who are required to render essential services within each department, adding that such staffers alone have been directed to work from 23 to 31 March.
Meanwhile, the state government has decided to extend the date of submission of contingent bills covered by finance concurrence from 26 to 27 March. The decision has led to many departments engaging employees to work overtime.
Some of them have expressed frustration that they have to come to work, risking their health, when everyone else is working safely from home.
An employee working in one of the government departments said that, because of the financial year-end, they have to attend office during the lockdown and work till late in the afternoon.
“There is increased workload every year, especially during March. We are accustomed to that. But now, with the lockdown in force, we face double the work pressure. Not all offices provide protective face masks and hand sanitizers to the staffs, and it is difficult to maintain social distancing when you are working in confined rooms with fellow staffers,” the employee said.
“As the last date of submission of contingent bills has been extended now, we have to work extra shifts even on Saturdays and Sundays, in order to complete work on time,” said another employee.
The treasury and sub-treasury offices, which also come under essential services, will remain open and function as usual.
An official of the treasury office here informed that the office will remain open despite the lockdown.
“As all government funds are routed through the treasury, we have a lot of work to complete. During the financial year-ending, there are salary-related bills, travelling allowances, other personal claims, and contingent bills to be completed,” added the official.