NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday cautioned the state governments and Union Territory administrations against giving exemptions beyond the prescribed limit during the 21-day lockdown, saying it was a violation of laws and defeats the purpose of controlling the spread of COVID-19.
In a communication to chief secretaries of all states and UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said it has been noticed that some state governments and UT administrations are allowing exceptions beyond what has been allowed under lockdown measures by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), as contained in the issued consolidated guidelines.
"This amounts to a violation of the lockdown measures issued by MHA under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and may defeat the overall objective of containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country," he said.
Therefore, Bhalla said, all the state governments and UT administrations are requested to strictly implement the lockdown measures issued by the MHA in the exercise of the powers under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 in letter and spirit.
The home secretary also said based on the orders issued by the National Disaster Management Authority under Section 6(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, he, as Chairperson of the National Executive Committee, issued an order on March 24 with directions to the ministries/ departments of government of India, Union Territories and State governments to take effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Subsequently, two addendum orders were also issued on March 25 and 27 giving exemptions to some essential good and services during the lockdown.
The lockdown was announced on March 24 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a bid to combat coronavirus pandemic.