Following the objection from the Centre against Kerala easing certain lockdown restrictions in the state, the state government on Monday, April 20, decided to modify its relaxations. The state will not allow plying of buses in cities, opening of restaurants and pillion riding on two-wheelers.
The decision came following a meeting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held with state Chief Secretary Tom Jose on Monday morning.
"A formal order on the restrictions would be issued today itself. Buses would not be allowed to ply, restaurants will remain closed (for dine-in) and only parcel service (take away) would be allowed and barber shops will also remain shut", the sources told PTI.
Objecting to the Kerala government's decision of easing lockdown restrictions in the state, the Union Home ministry wrote a letter to the State Chief Secretary, stating that lifting certain restrictions resulted in the dilution of the Centre's guidelines.
However, the state government had earlier said that there was some "misunderstanding" and that in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the state's stand does not contradict that of the Centre, The Indian Express reported.
"The Government of Kerala (GoK) vide their Order No. 78/2020/GAD dated 17.04.2020 has circulated revised guidelines for lockdown measures to all departments, District Collectors, Superintendent of Police and other Heads of Department of Kerala. On examining the said order, it is observed that the GoK has allowed opening of activities which are prohibited in the aforesaid Order dated 15.04.2020 of MHA," the MHA letter signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said.
"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 (upto 60 km); two passengers in the back seat of four-wheeler; pillion riding on scooters. 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," it added.
The MHA further urged the Government of Kerala to revise guidelines in line with MHA guidelines without any dilution, and ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures.
Kerala had announced a relaxation of lockdown in the Green and Orange-B zones in the state, starting today, April 20. The relaxations included the movement of private vehicles on an odd-even basis and dine-in services at hotels, among others.
Earlier, for containing the pandemic, the state government had divided the 14 districts of the state into four zones - Red, Green, Orange-A and Orange-B.
"We have given relaxations in accordance with the Centre's guidelines. I think there is some misunderstanding,based on which the Centre has sought an explanation. Once we give an explanation, it will all be sorted out. The Centre and the state have the same stand with regard to fight the pandemic. There is no contradiction in the stand taken. It's just a misunderstanding we will clear it," State Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said.Also Read: Spraying People With Disinfectant Physically, Psychologically Harmful: Health Ministry