Ever since the Centre imposed the first nationwide lockdown to fight COVID-19, the residents' welfare associations (RWAs) have mostly caused troubles to household societies instead of helping them in addressing daily-life issues pertaining to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issuing a detailed set of guidelines for various activities amid the lockdown, the RWAs did not cease to impose its own set of rules regarding the entry of domestic help workers in societies or even the movement of the residents.
Most of the residential complexes in major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Noida have cited a similar non-cooperative behavior on part of their respective RWAs.
RWAs testing patience of residents
Over the last two months, many irate residents have taken to social media to complain about the autocracy of the RWAs. Recently, an elderly Gurugram resident named Sunita Mehrotra revealed that she had asked her relatives to fetch her some essential items but the society's RWA denied entry to them and she could not collect the stuff.
Rishabh Lodha, who lives in Noida, shared that he could not get his air-conditioner serviced as the RAW did not let the technicians come in. He further said that the domestic help workers have been barred in his complex since March 25, which is the case with several gated societies across Delhi-NCR.
In Bengaluru, an apartment near Majestic has put in place a rule that does not allow the relatives of its residents to set foot in the building premises.
Several Gurugram RWAs have enforced their own set to guidelines for the fourth phase of the COVID-19 lockdown stating that the domestic help workers, drivers and gardeners will be allowed on alternate days. Besides, the residential bodies have made it mandatory for them to undergo complete blood count (CBC) tests and be accompanied by employers when passing through common areas.
Sir, in gurgaon RWAs is not allowing any property dealer in the society for client visit with owner permission. So we are not able to do our task and our income has stopped from lockdown starting. So please issue a advisory for that. Hope you will understand @cmohry @mlkhattar— Anil Sangwan (@anilsangwan440) May 20, 2020
Notably, as per the MHA norms, electricians and plumbers were allowed to resume work from April 15 and domestic helpers from 4 May.
Gautam Buddha Nagar acts on complaints by residents
Taking note of the unreasonable rules being forced by the RWAs across Noida and Greater Noida, the authorities of Gautam Buddha Nagar on Wednesday, May 20, reminded them that they cannot alter the guidelines set by the Centre in which way.
"RWAs can only impose restrictions to the extent of enforcing guidelines of compulsory wearing of face cover, sanitization, thermal screening and other measures to ensure community hygiene," read a circular issued by Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj, District Magistrate, Gautam Buddha Nagar.
It also mentioned that the consent of residents is a must before taking a call on the resumption of services of domestic helpers.