TN approves MNREGA tasks, 33% workforce in govt offices during lockdown

MNREGA initiatives shall be allowed after complying with conditions like providing workers with masks and mobilising not more than one third of the labourers required

As per the order, tasks under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurarantee programme, especially those related to irrigation and water conservation in rural areas excluding containment zones and red blocks, are allowed. Representational image: PTI

Easing curbs for select activities in non-containment zones, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday (April 23) allowed rural employment guarantee tasks tied to irrigation and construction in rural areas.

It also permitted functioning of state and central government offices for maintenance of essential services with attendance not exceeding 33 per cent of the total staff strength.

Days after the state government extended the lockdown without easing curbs till May, not availing relaxations permitted by the Centre in rural and non-containment regions under its revised guidelines of April 15, the government listed tasks that were now allowed based on a proposal of the revenue administration.

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The government in an order, however, made it clear that before allowing the select additional activities, the “district administration shall ensure that all preparatory arrangements with regard to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for social distancing in offices, work places, factories and establishments as also other sectoral requirements are in place.”

As per the order, tasks under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurarantee programme, especially those related to irrigation and water conservation in rural areas excluding containment zones and red blocks, are allowed.

Containment and red block areas mean places of detection of coronavirus positive cases/clusters and where a string of measures like prevention, disinfection, tracing and testing initiatives were on at a higher scale.

MNREGA initiatives shall be allowed after complying with conditions like providing workers with masks and mobilising not more than one third of the labourers required for a given task and ensuring strict social distancing, the government said.

Similarly, construction projects in rural areas including irrigation, de-silting of tanks and channels; ongoing work with regard to dam safety, buildings (including the construction and maintenance of Medical Colleges and hospitals), roads and bridges, water supply and sanitation, brick kilns, hardware material supply on call basis, electricity-related work (generation, transmission, and distribution) are allowed.

“State/Central Government offices for the maintenance of essential services with attendance not exceeding 33 per cent of the total staff” also feature under the list of permitted tasks as part of relaxation of curbs.

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