ACS HOME DIRECTS DISTRICT AUTHORITIES TO CONVENE MEETING OF INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS TO PURSUADE THEM TO RESUME OPERATIONS IN PERMITTED AREAS
ALLAYS FERAS OF INDUSTRY REGARDING LEGAL ACTION IN CASE OF WORKER FOUND COVID-19 POSITIVE
CHANDIGARH, APRIL 29 (Shiv Narayan Jangra) : On the directives of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Home Department has issued detailed guidelines to the district authorities to allow industrial activities across the state.
Clarifying the scope of permissible construction activities specifically whether it includes personal, residential/commercial building, the State Government has also permitted all kinds of new constructions in rural areas without any restrictions. In urban areas, there is restriction in the sense that only on-going projects can continue subject to availability of workers at site. It may accordingly be seen that there is no restriction on continuing/resuming work on the already ongoing works including personal, residential/commercial building subject to availability of workers at site. Accordingly, construction activities in clause 16 of MHA guidelines of April 15 would include construction of houses/commercial/institutional buildings by individuals subject to condition already imposed.
Disclosing this here today, an official spokesperson said that the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Satish Chandra has issued detailed guidelines in this regard ensuring industrial activities, already permitted by the Government of India, in the state. Accordingly, the District Authorities have been directed to call the industrial associations for a meeting and persuade them to re-start the operations in the permitted areas.
The Spokesperson further pointed out that the management of the state Industry have also been asked to implement the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in line with the guidelines of Union Ministry of Home Affairs, as per clause 15, which have permitted the industries in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Oriented Units (EOUs), industrial estates, industrial townships and industries in rural areas to operate subject to the condition of complying with the SOP. The SOP requires that the management would provide for special transportation of workers, in house facility for labour, medical insurance of workers, tie-up with hospitals and arrangements for disinfecting the premises, thermal screening of employees and hand washing etc.
The Spokesman further said that in the light of MHA’s guidelines of April 15 about labour being stationed in the premises mean that the labour will not depend upon public transport, auto-rickshaws or state transport buses etc. However, the labour may be permitted to move on cycles or on foot if the workers are residing within a short distance from the industry. Allaying the fears of Punjab Industry that in case a worker in the factory was found to be COVID-19 positive, district authorities might take legal action including imprisonment of CEO, the Spokesperson stated that the Union Home Secretary on April 23 has already clarified that there is no such clause in the consolidated revised guidelines issued on April 15, 2020 for an automatic legal action against the management. As per these guidelines, work places and industrial and commercial establishments are required to follow the SOP and the protocol as notified by the health authorities.
The spokesperson further said that the Union Home Secretary on April 3 has stated that no fresh licence or statutory approval is required by the industry for resumption of permitted activities. Likewise, Ministry of Home Affairs has separately clarified that for restarting the operations, industry would require no approval of district authorities. If the industry is satisfied that they have made adequate arrangements for implementation of SOP and they have made a self-declaration to that effect, then they can start the operations. However, passes for special transportation of workers from the district authorities would still be required, said the Spokesperson adding that the management would also require passes for themselves and the vehicles. Accordingly, the industries be allowed to operate and the orders passed by the district Magistrates under Section 144 of Cr.PC may be amended clarifying this issue.