Flouting MHA guidelines

16/05/2020

In contravention of the guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs in view of the extended lockdown because of COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir had ordered opening of all colleges and universities across the Union Territory even as class work shall remain suspended till May 30. The offices of Vice Chancellors, including Head of Departments and Principals of Government Degree Colleges of Higher Education Department and Principals of Polytechnic Colleges and ITIs of Technical Education Department across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have started functioning from May 6 with minimum 30 percent staff strength on rotation basis. Besides, Principals of respective Institutions shall draw duty roster of teaching staff to start pending work of evaluation/assessment, virtual class-work, lab work, curriculum development, scholarships and other activities assigned by the Principal of their institutions. Duty roster of non-teaching staff on rotation basis have also be drawn to start routine official work as assigned by the controlling officer of the institution. Research Scholars have also been permitted to start their activities in the lab while strictly observing the COVID-19 protocol.
However, this order is clear violation of the Ministry of Home Affairs' guidelines on the measures to be taken by Ministries/departments of Government of India, State/UT Governments and State/UT authorities for containment of COVID-19 in the country for the extended period of National lockdown. As per the MHA order, all schools, colleges, educational/ training coaching institutions etc come under the activities, which shall continue to remain prohibited across the country, irrespective of the Zone, for a period of two weeks. Even as online/distance learning has been permitted, no educational/ training institution can function across the country till May 17, 2020, as clearly ordered by the MHA. Even as the UT Government order maintains that all staff detailed for duties shall observe COVID-19 protocol issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, from time to time, particularly regular hand wash/sanitization and maintaining proper hygiene, mandatory wearing of mask, maintaining social distance etc, a number of employees of the Higher Education Department have expressed apprehensions and doubts over the safety precautions.

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