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Paytm founder and Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma is leaving for a coastal city in south India to escape the smog and pollution choking the National Capital Region (NCR). The employees of his company in Noida might not be able to leave like him, but Paytm is distributing pollution masks among them and is also offering flexible working hours so that they can avoid the peak pollution in the morning and evening. “We are taking necessary measures to improve the air quality in our offices by getting top-of-the-line air purifiers and more plants. If a colleague feels unwell, we offer health assistance,” said Amit Sinha, chief operating officer, Paytm Mall. Information technology company HCL, which has an employee strength of 35,000 in the NCR, is also distributing masks. “We have various wellness initiatives driven the organisation for the health of our employees. We have a health care center on campus and employees with serious symptoms, if any, can be readily given assistance. We have also issued an advisory to all our employees, explaining the do and don’ts,” said an HCL spokesperson. India’s biggest online travel agency MakeMyTrip said it was working on ways to help employees procure the right air masks at discounted prices on the office premises. “We have a clearly defined work-from-home policy for our employees that they can avail of at this time as any other. We are also encouraging employees to carpool through our internal social networking forum.
We are working on ways to help employees procure the right air masks,” said a company spokesperson.Multinational companies such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola and Indian fast-moving consumer goods major Dabur are not considering giving any leaves to their employees yet. Coke has air-purifying systems at its corporate office in Gurugram; others said the air quality on their premises was considerably better than outside. Raj Rana, chief executive officer (South Asia) at Carlson Rezidor (which owns hotel brands such as Radisson and Park Plaza), said the employees working inside the hotel are least affected, since various mechanisms including air filters are in place to ensure a healthy environment for them and for guests. Work has continued at a normal pace at most corporate entities in Delhi and its satellite cities Gurugram and Noida. Employee attendance was usual and companies have not yet felt a need to offer them an option to work from home or support them in any other manner. Unlike the services sector, however, there is little relief for employees of the manufacturing sector. “In the manufacturing space, such as automobiles, normal plant operations cannot continue without workers. We are left with little option as production and sales targets are to be met. The human resource department is closely monitoring the situation,” said an executive with a leading automobile maker with a plant in the NCR. Large automobile makers in the region such as Maruti Suzuki and Honda continued with their regular operations. Gurugram-headquartered Bharti Airtel, the largest telecom service provider, did not say if it had done anything.