CHENNAI: New working modalities have been issued for ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-Shar) in Sriharikota, according to which all regular activities are temporarily suspended as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause panic.
"In view of the considerable number of Covid-19 positive cases in Shar and Sullurpeta housing colonies, it is essential to trace the primary contacts, test and isolate them to avoid further spread. All the office premises need to be fumigated and sanitised wherever the Covid positive employees had worked. Hence, the regular activities of SDSC Shar are suspended till completion of aforementioned activities," said Shar controller V Kumbakarnan, in an official circular dated August 15, which is accessed by The New Indian Express.
The official said the rocket launch station will function with minimum essential/skeletal staff to take care of critical/essential activities. "All employees other than essential services shall work from home and should be available on telephone at all times and shall attend the duties on requirement," Kumbakarnan said.
Meanwhile, Pulicat Nagar employees colony, where maximum number of Covid-19 cases are diagnosed, has been placed on strict lockdown. "All the employees residing in Pulicat Nagar colony are advised to work. Further, the movement of all the persons, other than for essential. emergency purposes are strictly prohibited. Accordingly, all the movements in/out of the colony, social/public gatherings in the colony open areas and walking on the roads in the colony is strictly prohibited," official sources said.
On Sunday alone, four fresh cases of Covid-19 cases were reported. A source from the contact tracing team confirmed to The New Indian Express that a lady doctor working at Sriharikota hospital, two employees of Liquid Propellant Storage and Servicing Facility (LSSF) and one admin staff were tested positive.
M Prasad, General Secretary, Shar Employees Association, had written to the Director of SDSC Shar demanding for complete closure of the centre till all contacts are traced and tested to stop further spread.