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Residential colonies debate on allowing domestic helps to enter

The State and central governments have announced that domestic helps can start work from May 4 onwards and mandated the employers to get passes. But several residential colonies are still debating on the issue, often leading to heated exchanges between residents.

Residential colonies debate on allowing domestic helps to enter


Since the lockdown began forty days ago, most residents in the city have stopped allowing domestic workers to the household and insist on continuing so. “We are allowing housekeeping staff with proper protection like face masks, hand sanitisers and while entering the apartment, we also check their temperature. They are allowed to mop the floors, collect garbage, etc. We stopped them from coming only if they were from containment zones,” said R Prabhakaran, General Secretary, Emaar Avenues Flat Owners’

Association at Tondiarpet. “But, domestic workers are not allowed and we have asked the residents to do their household work on their own.”

Most apartments are yet to decide on permitting maids inside. “Since the lockdown, we asked the maids not to come. Even though the government has permitted domestic workers to return to work, we are concerned about our safety. So, till the situation gets normalised, we are not ready to allow any outsiders inside the apartment,” said Saraswathi, a member of Sriram Flat Residents’ Association, Medavakkam.

However, several domestic workers DT Next spoke to said that they were ready to work. “We are not going for work in containment zone areas, but otherwise, we are ready to work as there is no income. My family is dependent on my salary. If I don’t work, it would be difficult for us. A few residents are providing us with masks, hand sanitisers. But in other cases, we have to take care of ourselves,” said Pushpa S, a domestic worker from Teynampet.

A house help said that the money given by the government is not enough to run a family. “Nowadays even essential items are very expensive and it is impossible to run a family with the amount from the government,” she added.

“A few workers have already started to go to houses in walkable distance. They should take extra care considering the situation,” said Valar Mathi, State Coordinator of National Domestic Workers’ Union.

Chennai Corporation to issue passes for house workers

Domestic helpers can finally go to work as the Greater Chennai Corporation Commission G Prakash has promised e-passes for them. “Chennai Corporation will issue passes to persons travelling within the city. Domestic helpers in the city can apply for the passes. If the helpers do not know how to apply, their employers can apply on behalf of the workers,” Prakash told reporters. The State government, while announcing an extension of lockdown in the State, has allowed domestic helpers, plumbers and other workers in red zones by availing passes from district collectors or Corporation commissioners. Those who want to apply can visit Meanwhile, Prakash clarified that persons who want to travel to other districts and other states should apply for passes through “For travel inside the city, Chennai Corporation will issue passes to eligible persons. We will also simplify the process,” he said.

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