With restrictions in Karnataka, DULT asks employees to pay to take laptops to wfh

They were either told to pay and give an undertaking, or go to office and work.
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With a massive surge in infections, Karnataka has imposed severe restrictions barring the movement of essential personnel. As part of its guidelines, the Karnataka government said that in government offices/autonomous bodies, etc, offices can function with 50% staff, except for those in essential and emergency services. 

However, the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) in Bengaluru asked those who didn’t have their own laptop or system and needed the department’s laptops, to either pay a charge of Rs 2,500 and give an undertaking, or go to office and work.

On DULT’s internal WhatsApp group, which TNM has seen, DULT Commissioner V Manjula IAS says: “Those who want to take office laptops and PCs home because they never bothered to prepare themselves to work from home have two choices: 1) Agree to nominal charges and sign the undertaking, and take them. 2) come to office and work. One cannot have the cake and eat it too.”

Two people at DULT told TNM they had been verbally informed that this charge was Rs 2,500, and was non-refundable.

When TNM contacted V Manjula for a comment on the same, she agreed that an undertaking had been taken, but no charges were collected. 

“We have to. It’s a government laptop. They just have to give an undertaking that if there is any damage in their possession, they have to make good. People had no issue with it. We had 3-4 laptops and people have taken them after giving the undertaking,” she said.   

When asked about the charge, she denied the same. “No charge has been imposed. Whoever has told you has told you wrongly,” she said. 

She added that most people are on contract and they generally do not give laptops to contract employees but was doing so because of the prevailing restrictions in the state.

Karnataka has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent days. The daily caseload of COVID has shot up beyond 45,000 cases, of which over 25,000 are in Bengaluru alone.

The active cases have touched close to 3.82 lakh in the state, and a majority of them are in the state capital.

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