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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today increased the working hours in different industries in the State in a bid to replenish man-hours lost because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

During a press briefing on Friday, Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Information & Public Relations Department, Sanjay Kumar Singh said that in small, medium and large scale industries, man-hours were lost due to lockdown leading to significant decline in the output. Several industry associations had urged the Odisha government to provide them relaxation in working hours.

“Keeping that in mind and to restart economic activity, the State government has relaxed the working hours. The 8 hrs/day and 48 hrs/week have been increased to 12 hrs/day and 72 hrs/week,” informed Singh.

For the additional working hours, overtime wages will be paid to workers, however, such wages cannot be paid for more than 24 hours in a week, he said.

Sharing details of State government’s decision, Singh said that working hours in a shift can't be more than six hours and a 30-minute break will be given between two shifts.

Mentioning about the exceptions in working hours for women, he said that if there is no specific permission, women workers can't be allowed to work between 7 PM and 6 AM.

These changes will however come to into effect without contravening COVID-19 lockdown guidelines like restrictions in containment and red zones, Singh added.

In another big decision, the mandatory institutional quarantine period of 14 days for returnees has now been increased to 21 days, informed Odisha government’s spokesperson on COVID-19, Subroto Bagchi. The State government has also considered giving wages to the inmates of the COVID-19 quarantine centres for undertaking various tasks. The government will provide 10 days' work during the 21-day stay in quarantine.

Bagchi also informed that Section 144 would be imposed in areas surrounding the institutional quarantine centres. Moreover, the centres will also remain under CCTV surveillance.

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