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Pune rains: FITE urges District Collector to issue advisory to IT companies to let employees work from home

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With incessant rains prompting massive water discharges from Pune’s dams and causing heavy flooding across Pune city, the city chapter of the Forum for IT Employees (F.I.T.E) has urged the Pune District Collector to issue an advisory directing IT companies to either ask employees to ‘work from home’ or declare a holiday in wake of the emergency situation.

In their letter written to Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram,the F.I.TE. has said that it was the responsibility of IT companies to ensure safety of their employees by making sure they did not risk their lives in flood-like situations and weren’t stranded in the city’s water-logged areas.

The organization, a pan-national forum which has been addressing the problems faced by IT professionals, has said in their letter to Mr. Ram that “employees ought to be provided transport facilities by the companies and should not be forced to reach offices on their own in order to avoid accidents.”

On Monday, several employees working with companies in the Hinjewadi IT Park were given early leaves as rising water levels owing to the discharge of dam waters disrupted communications between Pune city and the IT hubs of Hinjewadi and Talawade.

However, those professionals who did reach their workplaces in the morning faced a harrowing commute back home as a number of bridges were shut down by traffic authorities, leading to traffic snarls along roads usually congested even in fine weather.

There are 7-8 lakhs employees working in and around IT parks in the city who are forced to travel extensively through narrow, flooded underpasses and overflowing rivers, said Pavanjit Mane, president, FITE.

“There are no clear instructions given to employees by the companies in crisis situations as these, which often put them in a dilemma as to whether to attend office physically or no. Employees often brave rains, excruciating traffic jams to reach IT hubs in Hinjewadi, Talawade, and Magarpatta City at considerable risk to their physical selves… With the rains over Pune city unlikely to abate in the newxt few days, we have requested the District Collector to urge IT companies to issue an advisory for IT professionals to preclude any hazard arising from their travel to reach their workplaces,” said Mr. Mane, speaking to The Hindu.

Mr. Mane said that in the absence of any clear directives from companies regarding travel arrangements of their employees, employees had to spend several hours scrounging for commute to reach their workplaces, several kilometers away from their residences.

Prashant Pandit of the FITE said that employees were essentially risking their lives in such situations to reach their offices that are 30-35 km away from their homes at the other end of Pune city.

“IT companies should take the responsibility of employee safety in such grave situations. The point is that companies ought to have prior information in emergency cases as these and accordingly instruct their employees to either work from home or take leaves. Going by the grim weather forecast, it is obvious that this situation will persist for the next couple of days. So, large companies ought to think about their employees’ welfare, given their technological wherewithal,” said an IT professional with a top firm, requesting anonymity.

He pointed that out often, shared travel options like shuttle services were suspended in inclement weather, forcing the employee to seek extremely expensive options like Uber or Ola cabs which levied exorbitant rates on heavy rainfall days.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:32:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pune-rains-fite-urges-district-collector-to-issue-advisory-to-it-companies-to-let-employees-work-from-home/article28827764.ece

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