The Central Reserve Paramilitary Force (CRPF) has advised work-from -home for its officials at its headquarters in Delhi as their office has been sealed for the next two days after a driver working there tested positive for the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. Nearly 1,000 officers and jawans operate out of the headquarters in central Delhi.
"We are following the procedures laid down by the Government of India relating to decontamination. Earlier too, we were following the rules of working with 30 per cent workforce in the headquarters. But now, we will reduce it further the headquarters re-opens," CRPF chief AP Maheshwari told NDTV.
The workflow, however, will go on usual as most of the officers are connected with e-platforms, the Director General of the paramilitary force said. "Work continues. Both security and the law and order grid are functioning as per mandate and are not affected," Mr Maheshwari added.
The government in its guidelines earlier had made it mandatory for officers above the rank of director to report to work. The strength of junior staff should be only upto 30 per cent, the government had said.
But on Sunday, the Union Home Ministry urged the police force to encourage work-from-home for officials who are not among those who have field work. This, according to the ministry, will reduce the entire workforce from getting exposed to the highly contagious virus.
"We were also following the government guidelines on attendance but now, after the headquarters opens up too, we will follow the new rule of minimum presence at the headquarters on rotational basis," the CRPF chief said.
The CRPF, one of the oldest central paramilitary forces in India, is also involved public assistance programmes to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. These initiatives will continue, Mr Maheshwari said.
Meanwhile, around 140 CRPF personnel from the 31st battalion, in east Delhi have tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks. These jawans and others who are in quarantine are being regularly counselled, Mr Maheshwari said, adding that the force has also augmented facilities and is working to build up immunity of all its personnel.
"Good medical and administration systems are being adopted and I hope all those who are COVID-19 positive will soon be 100 per cent fit and report back to work," he said.
The CRPF chief himself had gone into self-quarantine for 21 days last month on doctors' advice after he came in contact with an officer who tested positive.
The Home Ministry has also ordered a probe on why the force had reduced the number of days of quarantine for its personnel from 14 to five days.
According to sources, CRPF Inspector General (Medical) has now given a detailed reply on why he had reduced the number of days. "His reply is being examined and action will follow if there is some laxity in his role," a senior official in Home Ministry said.