J&K Bank staff ‘exposed’ to COVID-19 risk by management

J&K Bank employees ‘exposed’ to COVID-19 risk by management

An official measures the temperature of a visitor using an infrared thermometer at the entrance of a bank, following the outbreak of coronavirus, in Srinagar, Monday March 23, 2020. (PTI Photo)

As the coronavirus infection spreads faster and deeper across the world, hundreds of employees working in Jammu and Kashmir Bank have allegedly been exposed to great risk of COVID-19 infection by the management.

The employees complained that at a time when lockdown has come into effect across the country they have to attend their duties regularly and that too without any protective gear. “Health workers are also attending their duties in these crisis times. But they have been provided with proper equipment and protective gear. We have been left to die by our incompetent management,” a senior bank employee form Jammu, who wished anonymity, told DH over phone.

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He claimed that the chairman of the Bank, R K Chibber, is not attending his duty at Corporate Office in Srinagar for the last two weeks. “He (Chibber) has gone into self-isolation, while the rest of the staff is attending their duties despite COVID-19 threat. He should have been leading from the front, but instead he has left the ship to sink,” he alleged.

Similar views were expressed by a middle level officer from Kashmir. “As there is complete lockdown, bank employees are facing huge difficulties in reaching their offices. Instead of keeping all the branches open, it was better to keep cluster-wise branches and rotating staff to keep the risk of spreading the virus under check,” he said.

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

However, the officer said that any proposal which goes to Corporate Headquarters these days gets delayed “as the Chairman is not attending his duties.”

“Even the Reserve Bank of India has allowed the majority of its staff across its centres to work from home while ensuring unhindered business continuity. Same could be done in J&K Bank, but unfortunately the top management is taking the situation lightly. It could prove disastrous if immediate steps are not taken,” he warned.

However, president (HR), J&K Bank Mohammad Maqbool Lone, rebutted the allegations saying all the precautionary measures have been put in place. “It is true that at some places, police and security forces are not allowing some employees to move, but we have taken up the issue with the concerned district authorities,” he told DH.

Lone said that in all the branches hand sanitisers, masks and other required items have been kept and proper hygiene is being maintained.

Asked about the reports that the chairman was not attending his office at Corporate Headquarters, he said, “He (Chibber) is in Jammu and monitoring everything through video conferencing. He had to attend meetings in Jammu as Durbar Move offices are there at the moment,” Lone clarified.

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