Rejecting the MBMC Commissioner Chandrakant Dange and other MMR municipal commissioners ‘diktat’, Guardian Ministers of Thane Eknath Shinde and Mumbai City Aslam Shaikh said that travel ban of employees in essential services is not acceptable.
In the tussle between the BMC and its extended MMR, the state government has finally stepped in. Commissioner Mr Dange had identified the residents working as essential workers in Mumbai as the main source of spread of COVID-19 infection in its jurisdiction. The MBMC has demanded the accommodation of the workers by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as they sought a temporary ban on their travel between Mumbai and Mira-Bhayandar.
Rejecting the order by Dange, Guardian Minister of Mumbai City Aslam Shaikh said, “The state government and BMC are ready to arrange all essential workers. However, if they want to stay in Mumbai voluntarily. We have limited resources and we can’t force them. Even, they have a family to look after.”
“It is unacceptable if other municipal corporations ban travel for them in their residential jurisdiction,” Shaikh added over phone.
“Those who want to stay in Mumbai will be accommodated by the BMC,” said Shaikh.
Echoing the same, Thane Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde also said that no travel ban will be imposed without consulting proper authorities.
Municipal corporations in Thane, Navi Mumbai, Panvel, Kalyan-Dombivli, Vasai-Virar, and Ulhasnagar also sought similar arrangements. However, the BMC called the suggestion, ‘discriminatory’ and violative of Centre’s guidelines. Now, employees can take a sigh of relief after Guardian Ministers intervene.
Mr Dange had said the order was issued as most COVID-19 patients in the civic area are people working in Mumbai. “Yes, more than half of the positive cases recorded in MBMC had been infected in Mumbai. However, they are residents here,” Dange said.
Sources said that out of the 202 positive cases 103 are either working in Mumbai or they are closed contacts.
BMC made 100 per cent attendance for all its employees in offices and on-field compulsory. The BMC has around one lakh employees. While employees over 55 years and those with medical conditions have been given some relaxations, they have also been asked to work.