Don’t impose ‘local lockdowns’ without Centre’s nod, states told
New Delhi: Soon after Unlock 4.0 guidelines were issued, further opening up the economy and allowing more activities, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories to inform them about the dos and don’ts for areas outside containment zones. He also cautioned states and UTs against imposing localised lockdowns outside such zones, without the Centre’s nod.
“In Unlock 4, which will come into effect from 1st September, 202, the process of phased reopening of activities has been extended further. Lockdown, however, shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till 30th September, 2020.”
The Home Secretary also stressed that containment zones must be demarcated at the “micro level” with strict perimeter control.
Listing the permitted activities outside containment zones, he informed the Chief Secretaries about the nod to one of their most pressing demands – resumption of metro services, from September 7, in a “graded manner”.
Bhalla also stated that social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious and political functions and any other congregations are also being allowed with a ceiling of 100 people and by following SOPs, with effect from September 21. From the very same day, open air theatres are also being given a go-ahead.
He, however, reiterated that states or UTs cannot dilute the Centre’s restrictions, nor can they impose localised lockdowns outside containment zones without a green signal from the MHA. He once again reminded them that there is no need for any e-permit for movement within and across states.
Bhalla also listed the decision on opening up of education institutions. While schools and colleges will continue to remain shut till the end of September, he said that states and UTs can allow 50 per cent of teachers and non-teaching staff to be called to schools for e-teaching.
Students of Classes 9 to 12 may also be permitted to visit their schools voluntarily, subject to written consent of their parents or guardians, and skill or entrepreneurship training will also be permitted in institutes like the National Skill Training Institutes, and the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs)
Meanwhile, institutions of higher education may allow research scholars and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory or experimental, reiterated Bhalla, citing the MHA guidelines on ‘Unlock 4’.
“I would urge you to ensure compliance of the guidelines on Unlock 4, and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation,” he told the Chief Secretaries.