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ISRO back in mission mode, allows 50% staff to work at Sriharikota rocket launch station

Not letting the coronavirus pandemic derail the nation's space programme, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had decided to go ahead with projects by relaxing the complete lockdown at the Sriharikota rocket launch station. All administrative officers and senior staff associated with scientific and technical work have been asked to attend duties on all working days.

The New Indian Express has accessed the fresh working modalities issued by Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-Shar) Controller V Kumbakarnan, according to which 50 per cent of employees will be working based on a roster system prepared by respective division heads.

"Employees residing in SDSC-Shar housing colonies at Sriharikota and Sullurpeta shall attend the duties. Operation and maintenance contract employees residing in department colonies shall only be called for duties based on essentiality of work. Construction works shall continue as per prevailing arrangements," the circular reads.

Employees are also directed to inform the office, if they or any family member is undergoing a COVID-19 test and shall self-isolate till a conclusive test result is obtained. "Suppression of
information by any employee in this regard will be viewed seriously and action as deemed fit will be initiated as per extant rules," the authorities said.

People with underlying conditions (comorbidities) and undergoing treatment for these ailments before enforcement of the lockdown, upon production of medical prescription from the treating physician, persons with disabilities and pregnant women are exempted from the duty roster.

Attending mass gatherings prohibited

In a separate circular, the SDSC-Shar Controller has warned employees of stringent action after it was found that a majority of COVID-19 cases were the result of employees attending some kind of mass gathering, including marriages, funerals, house warming ceremonies etc.

"Most employees did not give any information about attending such functions. Leaving headquarters to attend such mass gatherings is one of the major factors for the spread of COVID-19 in SDSC-Shar. In order to contain the spread, all employees are advised to desist from participating in functions. As per CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964, prior permission of competent authority has to be taken by the government servants before leaving the station/headquarters. Therefore, the employees are advised to comply with the rules. In case the employee did not obtain permission and attend any kind of function and was
later diagnosed as COVID-19 positive, action as deemed fit shall be taken for hiding the information," Kumbakarnan said.

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