Precautions up at public offices

Some have been sealed as cases rise

June 29, 2020 10:06 pm | Updated 10:06 pm IST

Jayanagar head post office has been sealed.

Jayanagar head post office has been sealed.

The recent spike in COVID-19 positive cases in the city has also seen public offices increasing precautionary measures to prevent risk of infection among the public and staff. Some of them have been closed, following cases being reported there.

With cases being reported from Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha and MS Building, they were fumigated and sanitised, and restrictions were imposed on the entry of the public. After an employee of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) tested positive, his office was sealed. HAL 2nd Stage head post office, Jayanagar head post office and Hebbal-Kempapura post office have been sealed. Similar was the case at several police stations, including the office of the Police Commissioner.

Measures in place

Several government offices that see huge footfall of citizens claim to have put in place precautionary measures to ensure safety of citizens and staff. At the BBMP head office, entry is restricted and all applications are to be put inside a box placed near the entrance gates.

“This is to prevent entry of unauthorised persons. However, this has not worked, as many contractors have muscled their way inside the campus,” pointed out a senior BBMP official, who added that similar measures were taken in all the zonal offices as well.

At the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) head office too, entry is restricted. An employee has been posted at the entrance to receive applications and complaints, which are later forwarded to the officials concerned. However, there is no restriction on entry of citizens in the sub-division offices, an official claimed.

All visitors to the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) head office have to undergo thermal screening and use sanitisers before entering the premises.

At the city’s many BengaluruOne centres, guidelines have been issued to the staff to ensure everyone wears a mask and practices social distancing.

Prabhuling Kavalkatti, Director of Electronic Delivery of Citizen Services, Department of e-governance, said that every centre is provided with hand-held thermal scanners and sanitisers. “Centres coming under containment zones that have been sealed are closed,” he said.

B.S. Chandrashekhar, Senior Superintendent (Bengaluru East), India Post, said that not all post offices have thermal scanners but sanitisers have been provided. “HAL 2nd stage head post office will be re-opened on July 1. Since all the 56 staff members are under home quarantine, staff from other post offices will be deputed to offer skeletal services,” he said.

Fewer footfalls

Many citizens visit the Nada Katcheris and offices of the Deputy Commissioner (Urban), Assistant Commissioners, and tahsildars. According to sources in the Deputy Commissioner’s office, the number of visitors had dropped after the initial spike. Visitors are allowed only after thermal screening.

“The quasi-judicial hearings by the DC and AC have been reduced to a mere 10 a day. Earlier, over 70 cases were heard every day. Now, only litigants and advocates are allowed in the court hall,” the source said.

At Nada Katcheris, Group D employees are deputed specifically to ensure that social distancing is maintained among those who have queued up to apply for various services.

The public too, especially those with a higher risk of infection, are putting off visits to public offices due to the rising number of cases.

Venkatraman, a senior citizen from Malleswaram, needed a family tree document from the Revenue Department. Knowing that he would be exposing himself to the risk of contracting the virus by visiting the revenue office (Nada Katcheri), he decided to approach a lawyer with relevant documents instead, he said.

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