More than 150 Indian Revenue Service trainees at the National Academy of Direct Taxes in Nagpur, Maharashtra, were on Sunday asked to leave the campus and go back to their homes even though public transport services have been suspended across states as the number of coronavirus cases in India reaches 415.
Nagpur is one of the cities in Maharashtra where a lockdown has been imposed. Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Pune, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Thane and Yavatmal have also shut down. Only essential services to operate in the places under lockdown. The government also announced that trains, metros and inter-state buses across the country will not run till March 31.
“The Officer trainees of 73rd batch of the Indian Revenue Services, who are undergoing training at the National Academy of Direct Taxes in Nagpur have been granted block leave,” a letter signed by Additional Director of Income Tax VK Jose read.
Some of the trainee officers said that they had been asking officials to let them go home for over a week now, ThePrint reported. The unidentified trainees said they were instead told not to panic since the situation was under control.
An unnamed official at the academy, however, denied that the trainees were asked to leave compulsorily. “All we have said is that we cannot ensure that the mess is functioning, and those who can, should leave by tomorrow [Monday],” the official told ThePrint.
Facing uncertainty, the trainees alleged that the academy’s approach towards the situation has been “casual”. “They are saying that the mess won’t function, but isn’t it their responsibility to ensure that all probationers are taken care of during this crisis?” a trainee asked, according to ThePrint.
The trainee added that the academy kept conducting classed till Sunday afternoon and asked them to leave suddenly. “How can their approach be so casual?” the trainee asked. “Why did they not listen to us for 10 days when we said let us go? Till the afternoon, they said that they will keep conducting classes, then suddenly they tell us ‘just go’.”
Another trainee alleged that three probationers from Bhutan have been asked to go to the Bhutanese embassy in Delhi.“There is no arrangement done by the academy, they’ve just been asked to go there,” the trainee said. “This is a diplomatic shame!”