As Kerala opens restaurants, roads, MHA accuses state government of 'diluting' lockdown

Taking strong objection to the Kerala government's decision to open restaurants, bus travel for shorter distances, allow private vehicles on an odd-even during the lockdown, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has accused the Pinarayi Vijayan government of “diluting” the Centre's guidelines.

As Kerala opens restaurants, roads, MHA accuses state government of 'diluting' lockdown
PTI photo

Taking strong objection to the Kerala government's decision to open restaurants, bus travel for shorter distances, allow private vehicles on an odd-even during the lockdown, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has accused the Pinarayi Vijayan government of “diluting” the Centre's guidelines.

The MHA has written a letter to the Kerala government, saying the state government on April 17 “has circulated revised guidelines for lockdown measures which allowed opening of activities which are prohibited in the Centre's consolidated revised guidelines issued on April 15”.

“Such additional activities allowed by the government of Kerala, include opening of local workshops, barber shops, restaurants, book stores, MSMEs in municipal limits, bus travel in cities and towns for shorter distance, two passengers in the back seat of four wheeler and pillion riding on scooters,” added the letter.

According to MHA, this amounts to dilution of guidelines and violation of the order issued by the MHA on April 15 under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

It is to be noted that Kerala government had released detailed guidelines to reopen the state in phases from Monday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in the state has  divided the state into four zones – Red, Orange A, Orange B and Green.

Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram districts are in Red Zone and they will not have any relaxations.

In Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Kollam, districts under Orange A zone, partial relaxation from the lockdown will start from April 24, while Orange B districts Alappuzha, Trivandrum, Palakkad, Wayanad and Thrissur will get partial relaxation from Monday. In Kerala, 401 coronavirus cases have been reported so far. 

It may be recalled that while announcing the extension of the nationwide lockdown Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said some relaxation of the lockdown could be given in non-containment zones from April 20.