Housing societies warned against banning entry of help, vendors

Cooperation Minister says such steps will invite legal action

State Cooperation Minister Balasaheb Patil on Thursday warned housing societies against forcefully stopping the entry of domestic help and newspaper vendors, and said such a move may attract legal action.

Every member of society has helped in successful implementation of the lockdown in fight against COVID-19, Mr. Patil said. “We are on the path of recovery and have started unlocking various services, based on the Central guidelines. However, it has been observed that a number of cooperative housing societies, through their governing bodies and secretaries, are stopping the entry of help and vendors.”

The minister said any such action is illegal. “As restrictions on movement of personnel are getting lifted, economy activity has to resume. No secretary or governing body of a housing society can issue a diktat to stop the entry of individuals. It will attract legal action if reported to the authorities,” he said.

A number of cooperative housing societies in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, and neighbouring areas have banned the entry of domestic help and newspaper vendors, claiming it may lead to the spread of the disease.

Kiran Moghe, who works with the CITU on domestic workers’ issues, welcomed the minister’s statement.

“Under the Disaster Management Act, it is the Collector who is the final authority. Sadly, the Labour Department is sleeping. Housing societies are behaving as per their whims when in reality, they have no such powers,” she said.

Ms. Moghe said there are senior citizens and working women who genuinely need help. “We are also exposed to our class biases when we stop domestic workers from entering buildings. If their employers want a no COVID-19 certificate from them, then they should pay for it. How can you ask those women to produce the certificate?” she said.

The Union Home Ministry has already sanctioned resumption of services of domestic help and newspaper vendors.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 8:02:48 AM |

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