Work From Home Ends For Western Railway Employees; Staggered Office Timings Introduced

Western Railway starts in-office operations for Railway staff.
Western Railway starts in-office operations for Railway staff.

The headcount of active coronavirus cases have risen meteorically in Maharashtra, especially in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

State officials and many health experts believe the major reason for the spike in active Covid cases reported per day is the resumption of local train services in MMR for the general public.

The state government resumed local train services for the general public in non-peak hours’ time slots, starting February 1. Active cases of coronavirus across the city have been increasing turbulently ever since.

The state government has directed the implementation of staggered office timings for half of its staff, amidst the increasing Covid cases in the state.

MH Introduces Staggered Office Timings for WR Employees

The state government released a circular on Saturday, as per which 50% of the staff in WR will have to attend office from  9:15 am to 4 pm, while the other half will attend from 11 am to 5:45 pm.

This is initiated to control the count of active coronavirus cases, due to increase in crowding. The same approach was implemented in September 2020 too, which turned out to be moderately successful.

The state government is hoping to achieve the same results this time too.

Compulsory Rules for Staff During Office Hours

While the state has initiated 50% in-office work for WR staff, the latter is strongly directed to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) at the workplace.

This includes wearing masks at all times (compulsorily), temperature checks at the entrance of offices, sanitising hands and maintaining hygiene at the workplace with nodal officers doing regular surprise checks, as per a wire agency.

Meetings will continue to be conducted over video conferencing, unless absolutely necessary. 

“Four thermal scanners have been installed at the four entries of both HQ buildings and industrial-type hand sanitiser machines have also been provided”, adds the circular.

No Change in Local Train Schedules

Ever since the number of active Covid-19 cases are increasing in Mumbai, there are speculations of local train services to be ceased.

The state government too had been considering either revoking local train services, or reducing the allotted time slots for the general public.

However, according to a railway official last week, the railways currently have no plans of changing timings/slots for the general public. 

The official informed that the Railways have not yet received any instructions to make any changes in the local train operations, by the civic body (BMC).

“We have not received any communication from the state or the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) regarding reducing local train timings or suspending train services.

Reducing train timings will lead to overcrowding inside train compartments and on platforms. We will continue to operate the present number of local trains for essential workers, even if trains are later suspended for the general public.”, said the senior official.

While the final decision is yet to be taken, the state as of now, will not undergo any changes in local train operations.

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