Centre asks states, UTs to strictly comply with COVID-19 lockdown guidelines, not dilute them

NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked states and union territories to strictly comply with the lockdown measures announced to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic and not to dilute them at any level.

In a communication to chief secretaries of state governments and Union Territory administrations, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said some states and UTs are issuing orders allowing activities which have not been allowed as per the guidelines issued by the home ministry under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

“I would again urge you to ensure compliance of the revised consolidated guidelines, and direct all authorities concerned for their strict implementation in letter and spirit without any dilution and to ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures,” he said.

The consolidated revised guidelines on the measures to be taken by central ministries and departments, and state and Union Territory governments were issued on April 15 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3.

The lockdown was earlier from March 25 to April 14.

The home ministry has sought strict implementation of the guidelines in all parts of the country to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The home secretary also drew the attention of the chief secretaries to the guidelines which categorically say that state and Union Territory governments will not dilute them in any manner and strictly enforce the same.

They can, however, impose stricter measures than the guidelines as per the requirement of local areas.

Bhalla also pointed out to a recent Supreme Court observation that all state governments, public authorities and citizens will faithfully comply with the directives and orders issued by the Union of India in letter and spirit in the interest of public safety.

The observations, which must be treated as the directions of the apex court, was conveyed in “my letter dated April 1 to all states and UTs (union territories)”, he said.

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