ESMA invoked in Chhattisgarh

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State government has invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) for all health and related services, bringing all government and private hospitals under the purview of the act which has come into effect in the state. The Act also covers electricity, water and safety services, read an order issued by the Home Department of Chhattisgarh Government on Thursday.

In view of Covid pandemic and its adverse impact in the state, Home Department imposed ESMA. Employees engaged in health, cleanliness, electricity, water supply and safety services have come under the purview of the ESMA provisions and they cannot skip their respective duties unless it is unavoidable. They have to show the genuine reasons for the same.

Home Department Additional Chief Secretary said that the ESMA has been imposed keeping in mind the present situation. Similarly, sellers of medical equipment, doctors, nurse, health workers, transport department employees, ambulance services and other essential work will be covered under ESMA, he said.  If employees go for agitation/demonstration then they may be sent to jail, said the Additional Chief Secretary.

The government has also placed people in water and power supply, security related services, food and drinking water provision and management and those connected with the management of Bio Medical Waste. All these services are linked to the protection of public health.

The state government imposed ESMA on essential services on March 28 last year. It remained in force for several months. These restrictions were lifted after the corona cases slightly reduced. After the junior doctors’ strike, the government decided to impose ESMA.

It is to be mentioned, junior doctors of Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Medical College Hospital in Raipur went on strike on Tuesday. They accused the administration of not providing quality PPE kits, masks and gloves and not having isolation period after Covid duty. The striking doctors returned to work late Wednesday night after a discussion with the health minister. However, They have warned to resume the strike from May 1 if the demands are not met.

All district collectors and superintendents of police have been asked to ensure that there is no mass displacement and people should stay where they are even if they belong to other states. The district authorities have been asked to enforce the implementation of guidelines and directives as set forth by the Centre for lockdown and ESMA.

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