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Centre objects to Kerala easing lockdown restrictions

20 Apr 2020 by Anithya Balachandran

Kerala government’s decision to open restaurants, barber shops, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) industries in municipal areas, allowing two passengers in the back seat of cars, pillions on scooters and operating intrastate bus service has drawn criticism from the Centre.

In a letter, dated April 19, to Kerala chief secretary Tom Jose, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has stated that the state government, on April 17, circulated revised guidelines for lockdown measures to all departments, district collectors, superintendent of police and other official departments in Kerala — allowing activities that are prohibited in Centre’s consolidated revised guidelines issued on April 15, 2020.

The home ministry said, “This amounts to dilution of guidelines issued by MHA and violation of MHA order dated April 15, 2020, issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005.”

As a part of this, the Centre has asked the government of Kerala to rectify the guidelines and ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures imposed nationwide.

However, Kadakampally Surendran, minister for Co-operation, Kerala Tourism and Devaswoms said that the relaxations are in accordance with the guidelines; and that Centre may have sought explanation due to some misunderstanding.

Advising utmost caution during this period, Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of Kerala tweeted today:

As of now, Kerala has reported 402 positive cases, 270 recoveries and three deaths.

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