- The Centre has shot a letter to Kerala govt for relaxing lockdown
- Kerala govt is allowing opening of some restaurants, traffic movement
- Centre has said these relaxations violate the MHA guidelines
As the Kerala government looks at allowing some activities in the part of the state, including opening of restaurants, bus travel for shorter distances, the Centre has shot a letter to the Pinarayi Vijayan government saying these relaxations violate the MHA guidelines on lockdown that were issued on April 15.
Sources said, “Government of India has written to Government of Kerala over dilution of guidelines issued by MHA and violation of MHA Order dated 15th April 2020 issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005.”
The Kerala government has announced relaxation of the lockdown restrictions in two zones, allowing among others private vehicles movement in an odd-even basis and dine-in services at hotels from Monday.
According to the sources, the Kerala government has circulated a set of revised guidelines for lockdown measures in the state in an order dated April 17. The Centre has said, “In the said order, the GoK has allowed opening of activities which are prohibited in the Order dated 15.04.2020 of MHA.”
Reacting to the Centre’s letter, state minister Kadakampally Surendran said, “We have given relaxations abiding by directions issued by Centre. The Centre may have asked for an explanation due to some misunderstanding. Once we give an explanation, I hope the issue will be solved. We followed all norms set by the Centre.”
Kerala Police chief Loknath Behera had earlier said the relaxations of restrictions imposed would come into effect in the Green and Orange-B zones in the state from Monday.
“Such additional activities allowed by GoK, inter alia, includes opening of local workshops; barber shops; restaurants; book stores; MSMEs in municipal limits; bus travel in the cities/towns for shorter distance, two passengers in the back seat of four-wheelers; pillion riding on scooters,” the Centre has said in its letter and added that these activities violate the MHA order.
Prime Minister Modi, while announcing the extension of the nationwide lockdown, had said that there will be some relaxation of the lockdown in non-containment zones from April 20. However, the lockdown will not be lifted from anywhere.
The Centre has now told Kerala, “This amounts to dilution of guidelines issued by MHA and violation of MHA Order dated 15th April 2020 issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005.”
Kerala government has segregated the state into different zones according to the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in the areas. The Red zone comprises Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts. In these areas, a complete lockdown will be in place until May 3 while two entry and exit points are allowed for carrying essential commodities to coronavirus hotspots.