States can’t dilute guidelines: MHA
NEW DELHI: As the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown began on Monday, the ministry of home affairs reminded the states and Union territories that they cannot dilute the federal guidelines but are free to make them stricter based on local assessment and health ministry guidelines.
Several states have already allowed certain activities on Monday after the Centre came up with new guidelines allowing public transport, inter state travel and opening of shops, offices and industries.
Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla has reiterated in his letter to states that the guidelines of fourth phase of the lockdown were issued after taking into consideration the views of the states, following a video conference held by PM 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.
Officials familiar with developments said that if any state allows running of schools, colleges, or gyms, swimming pools, movement of people during the night (7 pm to 7am), which have been prohibited, this would be treated as “dilution”.
The states are free to categorise areas into “red”, “orange” and “green” zones. Inside the “red” and “orange” zones, containment and buffer zones will be identified by the district administration and local urban bodies. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and no movement of persons will be allowed, except for medical emergencies and maintaining the supply of essentials, the letter said.