A housing society member checks the temperature of all those who enter its gates
MUMBAI: Cooperatives minister Balasaheb Patil held a departmental meeting on Tuesday on the numerous complaints received from residents of housing societies.
Senior officials said many of the complaints were from health workers who are not being allowed entry into their homes. Then, there were complaints from residents who were away during the lockdown and now are being denied entry by their housing societies. There were also complaints of managing committees not allowing flats to be rented out and banning entry to drivers.
On the issue of maids and drivers, an official said, the department had never banned them. “Covid-19 guidelines have been framed by the Centre and the state government. The lockdown was announced on March 24, and on March 26, on the collector’s direction, we issued a circular to all housing societies, which said outsiders are not allowed. It never specifically said maids and drivers are not allowed,” said the official.
On allowing maids and drivers in housing societies, the official said it is for the BMC to issue the directive since it decides on containment zones. The last notification issued on May 31 specifically allowed plumbers and electricians. It made no mention of maids and drivers though.
Meanwhile, with no clear directions from the government, the Mumbai District Cooperative Housing Federation has come up with fresh guidelines for residential societies. These include submission of Covid-19 medical certificates for not just live-in maids, but also all travelling residents of a housing society, making even daily house help reside within the complex, no use of spa or gymnasium, and limited duration of jogging in the compound.
Dattatray Vader, secretary of the federation, said they have recommended a draft standard operating procedure (SOP) suggesting medical certificates for domestic help and creating a residential facility for them inside the society premises.
Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MahaSeWa) president Ramesh Prabhu said societies must take a daily declaration from maids that their area was not a containment zone.
Jeby Patel and Vijay Patel of All India Cooperative Housing Societies Association (AICHSWA) said there was still no clarity on house help and they should be allowed only if they are really needed.
On Monday, the deputy registrar for cooperative housing societies, P Ward (Goregaon, Malad and Dindoshi), had issued a directive saying societies cannot frame rules contradictory to government guidelines. It further said societies cannot bar domestic workers from non-containment zones. A senior official, though, said directives cannot be issued for a single area.