NO State, UT is allowed to “dilute” the guidelines for the ongoing lockdown, says MHA


AS the  4th phase of Nationwide lockdown commenced from Monday, May 18  till May 31 with substantial relaxations than its previous versions, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has reminded the states and Union Territories that no dilution of the guidelines will be allowed. The government has allowed the States and Union Territories to demarcate Red, Orange and Green Zones. This measure would help the States in extending the relaxations in larger parts. In a communication to the chief secretaries of the states and Union territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the guidelines for the fourth phase of the lockdown were issued after taking the views of the states, following a video-conference held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with chief ministers on May 11. “As emphasised in my earlier letters, I would like to reiterate again that States and Union Territories cannot dilute restrictions imposed vide the aforesaid guidelines issued by MHA. States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary. I would urge you to ensure compliance of the new guidelines and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation,” Bhalla said in his letter to the chief secretaries on Sunday night. Under the new guidelines effective from Monday, May 18, the states and Union territories will categorise “red”, “orange” and “green” zones taking into consideration the revised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday. Inside the “red” and “orange” zones, containment and buffer zones will be identified by the district administration and local urban bodies with technical inputs at the local level and by taking into consideration the health ministry guidelines. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and no movement of persons will be allowed across the zones, except for medical emergencies and maintaining the supply of essential goods and services, the letter said. The Home Secretary said a limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country. The revised guidelines on lockdown measures have been issued in supersession of the earlier lockdown orders, except the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued on the movement of persons. For facilitating movement of persons, various modes of transport have already been opened up in accordance with the SoPs issued by the MHA and all other activities will be permitted, except those specifically prohibited under these guidelines. However, only essential activities shall be allowed in the COVID-19 containment zones, as mentioned earlier. (with courtesy to DNA for the image)

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