Coronavirus outbreak: Social distancing norms must for geotagged assets

New Delhi: The Centre has made it mandatory for geotagged assets, such as rural housing projects, road construction and irrigation ventures, to clearly show that social distancing norms are being employed.

The Centre has directed all state governments to give physical proof of the guidelines being followed. Rural houses, roads, highways and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment works in villages are geotagged to track the real-time progress of various schemes for which central funds are released to states.

According to sources, states have been asked to educate contractors on frequent handwashing and ensure labourers always wear face masks and maintain basic hygiene at work sites. At the same time, contractors have been asked to ensure no worker chews tobacco at work sites. “The problem of tobacco chewing is rampant across India — both rural and urban. Though labourers believe that it helps them concentrate better and work longer hours, it is a problem as they then spit a lot. Spitting can lead of droplet infection in case a person is a Covid-19 carrier,” said a senior official.

There are existing provisions for uploading geotagged photos of the various stages of physical progress of different programmes. Such geotagged photos would now clearly depict social distancing being maintained and protective face covers being used at all work sites. Contractors would also need to share photographs of handwashing areas and face covers being provided at work locations. The Centre has also asked states to run educational programmes, specifically for contractors. These programmes will educate contractors about safe movement of workers and what to do in case a person develops flu-like symptoms. Every state will also provide a list of the nearest healthcare facilities to contractors undertaking work.

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