Kerala government to reconsider coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown relaxations after Centre's objection

Hours after Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote a letter to Kerala government taking strong objection to the latter's decision to open restaurants, bus travel for shorter distances, allow private vehicles on an odd-even during the lockdown, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in the state said on Monday (April 21) that the state will reconsider relaxation of lockdown.

Kerala government to reconsider coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown relaxations after Centre's objection
IANS photo

Hours after Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote a letter to Kerala government taking strong objection to the latter's decision to open restaurants, bus travel for shorter distances, allow private vehicles on an odd-even during the lockdown, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in the state said on Monday (April 21) that the state will reconsider relaxation of lockdown.

"Kerala has received a letter from the Centre regarding the dilution of lockdown guidelines. We are discussing what can be done. If needed, necessary modifications will be made,” said Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose

Kerala Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the relaxations were announced by the state government as per the directions issued by Centre and the Centre may have sought 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," added Surendran.

Earlier, the MHA had 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.