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Home / News / India /  Continue lockdown in hotspots till 30 April, run non-stop trains for migrants to return: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the virtual meeting of state chief ministers, to extend the lockdown in covid-19 hotspots until 30 April. He also demanded special non-stop trains for stranded migrants, three-months income support scheme for unskilled workers and special economic packages, among other things.

"The danger posed by covid-19 continues across the country. The time is not yet ripe to withdraw the lockdown," Vijayan said at a press briefing on Saturday evening.

"We have asked for a phased lifting. Otherwise, uncontrolled travel will impact high density states like Kerala heavily. We have asked the lockdown in hotspots to be continued until 30 April. In non-hotspots, the state governments should be given the power to decide to impose restrictions," said Vijayan.

The chief minister said the state has demanded a set of other measures in the call, mostly ones that emphasise the needs of stranded migrants, non-resident Keralites or NRKs in foreign countries and unskilled workers.

"Kerala has 3.85 lakh (interstate) migrants and they want to return their homes urgently. So after April 14, this should be allowed. Railways should allow special non-stop trains for returning them. Center should also provide some relief money to them through direct benefit transfer," said Vijayan.

"All help is needed to resolve issues of Malayalee expats in foreign countries. Embassy should explain things by issuing regular bulletins to curb misinformation. Special flights are needed for stranded passengers abroad," he said.

The CM also called for a three month income support scheme for unskilled labourers.

"ESI (Employee State Insurance), Provident Fund benefits should be increased from Rs. 10000 to 20000. ESI can pay revenues on some occasions, but covid-19 is not included in that list of conditions. It should be changed," said Vijayan.

Kerala has also called for a universal public distribution system across the country and asked the center to ensure buffer stock of food grains needed, said the CM. The state alone needs 6.46 ton rice in the next three months and the center should make this available. Railways should run more commercial trains to Kerala to this end for ensuring the goods are in supply, he said.

Kerala has also reiterated in the meeting its earlier announced demands such as raising the ceiling of debt and special economic package for states to fight the pandemic, added Vijayan.

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