New Delhi: A day after the Centre extended the nationwide lockdown to 31 May with significant relaxations, the Union home ministry warned states against circumventing any norms on the restrictions.
In a letter written to states, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said the current lockdown guidelines have been “issued in supersession to earlier lockdown orders", with the exception of standard operating procedures that dictate movement of migrants and Indians stranded abroad.
The home secretary categorically told states that they “cannot dilute restrictions imposed" through the existing guidelines of the MHA, even as the Centre said the lockdown measures have been restructured based on the views of state governments following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 11 May.
“I would urge you to ensure compliance of new guidelines and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation," Bhalla said in his letter.
While the Union government had previously prohibited any non-essential movement in red zones, it has now stated that within red and orange zones, “containment and buffer zones will be demarcated by the district authorities after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW."
Even though containment zones will have access restricted to only essential services, along with strict perimeter control, the MHA has asked for states to continue aggressive contact tracing and house-to-house surveillance in these areas. In keeping with its earlier guidelines, the Centre said the curfew, which was earlier observed from 7pm to 7am and wherein no movement was permitted, will continue to remain in force across the country.
While the implementation of the guidelines is now the prerogative of the states, the Centre has stated categorically that “all other activities will be permitted, except those which are specifically prohibited", in containment zones.
In the latest set of guidelines issued by the Union home ministry on Sunday, the Centre has paved the way for passenger vehicles and buses to ply within states and across interstate borders. Market places have been allowed to open subject to state governments’ permission, while e-commerce companies have begun to supply non-essentials across all zones, except containment areas.