|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Aug 3: Agriculture Production Department (APD) is continuing with its routine work amid COVID-19 pandemic thus putting the lives of staff members at risk.
On August 1, when strict lockdown was imposed across Jammu, the Directorate of Agriculture Jammu office had called a meeting of its officers at Krishi Bhawan Gole Pulli Jammu, which is a Red Zone.
The message, circulated on Whatsapp group of department officials, reads: “Following officers are requested to reach office by 9:30 in the morning along with their personal laptop in relation with urgent work of Coffee-Table book”, and the list of officers includes KK Sharma, AS Reen, Yadvinder Sassan, Deepak, Sandeep, Srikant, Krishan Kant, Tejvir Singh CSS, Neeraj Rajwal and Roshan (ADLE).
The department calling officers meeting in a crisis situation has drawn flak from the employees. “The Krishi Bhawan in Talab Tillo area falls Red-Zone. We have already lost one of our colleagues to COVID, while many others have turned positive. Despite this the department is reluctant to follow the lockdown guidelines”, an official said, adding that “it’s strange that during the pandemic time, when the utmost priority of the department should be health of staff, the officials believe that “Coffee-Table Book” meeting is important.”
The official said, “How this so-called Coffee-Table book is important for farmers, for whose welfare the department has been created? Inviting officers for such meetings is wastage of time and endangering their lives.”
He said that already during the Kissan Pakhwara meetings, social distancing norms were openly violated.
Director Agriculture Inderjeet was not available for comments.