Kerala for partial nationwide lockdown till May 15, seeks financial relief
The Kerala government wants the lockdown, in place to check the spread of coronavirus disease, to be extended partially till May 15 and sought an exclusive Covid-19 financial relief from the Centre to compensate Rs 80,000 crore loss it suffered during the shutdown.
The demand was conveyed by chief secretary Tom Jose, who represented the southern state, at the chief ministers’ video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
The economic condition in the state is precariously poised and it wants the Centre’s assistance to overcome the difficult situation, said chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan later in the evening. He said, in the last meeting with the PM, he had spoken in detail so this time the chief secretary attended the meeting and submitted the state’s proposals in writing.
“Our cumulative loss is over Rs 80,000 crore. Micro and small and medium enterprises alone lost over Rs 14,000 crore. Hotel, tourism, fisheries, IT, self-employment and other sectors also lost badly. So we want an exclusive package to revive these sectors,” said the CM, adding the state has also asked the Centre to hike its borrowing capacity from the present 3% to 5%.
The CM said 13 fresh cases were reported on Monday and two districts in green zones — Kottayam and Idukki — were put in the red zone as more cases were reported from there. Out of 13 new cases, Kottayam reported six and Idukki four. The state had reported 481 positive cases and 358 people were recovered, he said.
Another issue raised at Monday’s video conference was the return of immigrant workers from Middle-East countries, said the CM.
“We want the Centre to bear the airfare of the people, as they are reeling under financial constraints. We will screen them thoroughly at airports and they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine on their arrival,” he said, adding more than 2, 20,000 were registered on the website of the non-resident Keralites affairs (Norka) department.
There are at least 18 lakh people working in Gulf countries from the southern state and it is expecting that almost two lakh will be returning in the coming months.
The CM said the state also sought the Centre’s help in sending stranded migrant workers back to their states. There are at least four lakh migrant workers who are living in 10,000 camps in different parts of the state. He sought non-stop trains from the Railways for the stranded labour force.