Indian Army headquarter at iconic South Block at Raisina Hill remained closed on Wednesday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call for complete lockdown to fight COVID-19.
The Army headquarter will function with bare minimum staff of around 15 per cent from Thursday onwards, sources said. The office of Department of Military Affairs was also closed on Wednesday. Talking about COVID-19, the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said the country is at a juncture where the armed forces will have to operate beyond their mandate and help the country in the fight against coronavirus.
Earlier, the force had reduced 50 per cent staff at headquarter and had issued guidelines for their personnel pertaining to social distancing.
Indian Army Chief had directed to reduce attendance in offices with effect from March 23, 2020, excluding personnel engaged in essential and emergency services directly involved in taking measures to control spread of COVID-19.
It shall be ensured that personnel are available on telephone and electronic means at all times for exigencies of work.
In order to avoid crowding at entry and exit points, personnel attending office to adhere to staggered timings — 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and 9.45 a.m. to 6.15 p.m.
Indian Army on Monday closed its canteen stores and decided to provide home delivery of grocery and essential items. The force has asked his men to maintain social distancing while performing all tasks.
“All tasks related to response to COVID-19 should continue without hindrance,” the advisory stated.
Army has also imposed restricted movements in Cantonments and military stations.
The force had permitted personnel engaged in essential services like medical establishments, fire, electricity/ water supply, communication, post offices and sanitation services will continue to work.
“Additional districts/ extension of lockdown time frame by state governments will be adhered to as when promulgated,” it stated.