Telangana

Sections in State Archives sealed off

As many as four members of staff of the Telangana State Archives and Research Institute in Tarnaka tested positive for the novel coronavirus, prompting authorities to seal parts of the repository of lakhs of documents.

According to sources, it was on Thursday that the issue came to light. Staff aware of the development said that those who have tested positive belong to different categories of employment.

The library, and two research rooms, one on the ground floor, the other on the first floor, where PhD candidates, and others are engaged in retrieving and archival documents, were sealed off. They will be off limits for the next fortnight.

“The researchers and some staff members were caught unawares. They were informed to leave and the research room was vacated. The premises will be opened after sanitisation,” a source said.

While it is unclear as to how the four employees contracted the novel coronavirus, another source said that COVID–19 protocols were followed strictly within the premises. “The premises is large and very well ventilated. The ceilings are high and there is a lot of open space. We did not have trouble maintaining social distancing,” an employee said.

The TSARI also deal with requests for access to archival material from not only researchers, but other individuals, many of whom reach Hyderabad from neighbouring states such as Karnataka and Maharashtra, where cases are alarmingly high.

“There are between 30 and 50 applications we get. On other days, they would come inside and submit their applications. But for the past fortnight or so, we put a desk at the entrance where they are asked to submit their applications. They are not allowed to come inside,” another source said.

After the several sections were closed, staff was directed not to report to work, another source said. “There are 46 people who work here. Around 35 have been asked not to come. These include case workers, assistant archivists, and archivists. Only officers will come to the Archives,” another source said.

Officials are working with district administration to ensure the infected employees are taken care of.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 4:16:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/sections-in-state-archives-sealed-off/article34329234.ece

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