Centre objects to Kerala govt ‘diluting’ lockdown restrictions
However, amid confusion over easing of norms, the state government has defended its decision saying the Centre was informed about it.Updated: Apr 20, 2020 11:22 IST
The Kerala government’s decision to relax the norms of the Covid-19 lockdown on Monday has irked the Centre, prompting it to write to all chief secretaries to stick to the guidelines it has issued.
However, amid confusion over easing of norms, the state government has defended its decision saying the Centre was informed about it.
The Union home ministry has taken strong objection to the Kerala government’s decision to allow opening of restaurants and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in municipal areas among others, saying it amounts to dilution of its lockdown guidelines.
“It has come to notice that some states/Union territories are issuing orders allowing activities which have not been allowed as per guidelines issued by MHA under the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” Ajay Bhalla, Union home secretary, said in his letter.
Additional activities allowed by the state include the opening of local workshops, barbershops, restaurants, book stores, allowing bus travel in cities and towns for a shorter distance, two passengers in the back seat of four-wheeler and pillion riding on scooters.
Four districts—north Kerala’s Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram—are in the red zone with the most of the infections. Eight, including state capital Thiruvananthapuram, are in the orange zone with few cases and two are in the green zone with no cases.
There are 14 districts in the southern state.
State authorities had said the relaxations will be applicable to the orange and green zones only.
Kerala had on Sunday reported two new cases of the coronavirus disease, which took the number of infections in the state to 401.
Out of the 401, there are 270 people who have been discharged and 129 are in hospitals. There are 55,590 people under observation, down from almost 200,000 at one point.