Centre Slams Kerala Govt For ‘Diluting’ MHA Guidelines On Lockdown, Asks States To ComplyChief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan (Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images)

Taking strong objection to Kerala government’s decision of giving relaxations in the lockdown, Centre accused the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of “diluting” the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, News18 reported.

The Kerala government, in an order passed on 17 April, decided to partially lift the lockdown allowing opening of restaurants, private vehicles on an odd-even basis, bus travel within the city, and functioning of MSME industries in municipal areas, book shows, and barber shops among others in some select districts.

The move, however, did not go down well with the union government. In a letter to the state government, the MHA said 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,” it added.

The MHA also wrote another letter addressed to all state governments and made it clear that the states cannot “dilute” the centre’s guidelines on the lockdown and cannot make their own list of essential activities.

Writing the letter, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said, “It has come to notice that some of the states/UTs are issuing orders allowing activities which have not been allowed (by the centre's guidelines).”

“I would again urge you to ensure compliance of the revised consolidated guidelines, and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation in letter and spirit without any dilution and to ensure strict compliance of lockdown,” he wrote.

The MHA said it was a violation of its 15 April order issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

Kerala’s Vijayan government, issuing detailed guidelines, divided the state into four zones -- Red, Orange A, Orange B and Green -- to reopen Kerala swiftly. While the Red zone is to remain completely shut with hotspots sealed, other zones are to have the above mentioned activities restarting.

As per the letter, districts in zone Orange A will have these relaxations fro 24 April. The other two zones will be allowed to function as per the guidelines from Monday (20 April), the order said.

The state, after an initial outbreak however, has managed to contain the outbreak effectively with dropping the number of daily reported cases to single digit. The state has also done well in curing patients at an effective pace.

The total cases in the state stand at 401, out of which 270 have recovered, while only two people have lost their lives.

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