Kerala urged by Centre not to dilute guidelines

Kerala urged by Centre not to dilute guidelines

Agency News

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to Kerala saying that the addition relaxations announced by the state government are in violation of the MHA guidelines on lockdown and asked the Pinarayi government to follow the rules set by the Centre.

In a letter to the Kerala government, the Union Home Ministry said the state government on April 17 had circulated revised guidelines for lockdown measures which allowed the opening of activities which are prohibited in the Centre's consolidated revised guidelines issued on April 15.

This came after the Kerala government allowed some additional activities such as the opening of local workshops, barbershops, restaurants, book stores, MSMEs in municipal limits, bus travel in cities and towns for a shorter distance, two passengers in the back seat of four-wheeler and pillion riding on scooters.

Reacting to the Centre’s message, the Kerala Minister, Mr. Kadakampally Surendran, said there's some misunderstanding which will be resolved soon as the state government is fully abiding by the Centre's orders.

'We've given relaxations abiding by directions issued by the Centre. The Central government 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,' Mr. Surendran said.

The Centre has made it clear that states and union territories cannot 'dilute' the guidelines issued by the Home Ministry on the nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

The Centre said states cannot allow their own activities during this period. In a letter to states and union territories, the Union Home Secretary, Mr. Ajay Bhalla, has stated that only those activities permitted by the MHA in its guidelines are allowed.

He wrote the letter on Sunday after some states made their own list of essential activities and announced the relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions from Monday.