The Centre on Monday (April 20) took note of several incidents of healthcare professionals and sanitation workers being attacked across the country.
In a tough note to the states, the Union Home Ministry said that it has formed six inter-ministerial teams to ensure the safety of healthcare workers and maintain the supply of essentials, other than focusing on stringent implementation of nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The government also specified that all states and Union Territories have to follow the lockdown norms set by the ministry and cannot “dilute” the guidelines issued such that they allow their own activities to function during this period.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in the letter, said that only those activities permitted by the centre in its guidelines are allowed which includes partial functioning of some sectors from Monday.
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The home secretary’s letter comes after some states added some extra functionaries in the list of essential activities and announced relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
The government said this is “not permitted” as per an observation made by the Supreme Court last month.
“It has come to notice that some of the states/UTs are issuing orders allowing activities which have not been allowed as per guidelines issued by MDA under the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” the Home Ministry said.
“I would again urge you to ensure compliance of the revised consolidated guidleienes, and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation in letter and spirit without any dilution and to ensure strict compliance of lockdown,” the letter reads.
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This comes a day after the home ministry strongly opposed the idea of Kerala opening dine-in services in hotels, allowing pillion riders on two-wheelers and functioning of barber shops in parts of the state from Monday.
In Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot took to Twitter to announce that the state will be implementing a modified lockdown from April 20 to May 3.
“Our priority is to completely stop transmission of COVID-19, but at the same time efforts are being made to start economic activities. During #ModifiedLockdown, it will ensure that social distancing is maintained during industrial activities,following guidelines of the central government,” Gehlot said in another tweet.