On the eve of the easing of lockdown restrictions, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said that magistrates of the 19 districts with 10 or more cases of novel coronavirus would decide if the lockdown imposed to contain the pandemic should be relaxed. The decision should be taken on the basis of vigilance and alertness, the CM said at a video-conference meeting with the DMs of the 75 districts.
Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi, however, told The Indian Express that most of the 19 districts had decided to extend the lockdown. “The idea is to not lose the good work that has been done till now by relaxing the lockdown,” he added.
Asked about the rest of the districts, Awasthi said: “The DMs of the 56 districts will take a call on what to relax and what to keep in lockdown. It will be a phased opening depending on the needs of the districts.”
The 19 districts with more than 10 cases are Agra, Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Noida, Kanpur, Moradabad, Varanasi, Shamli, Baghpat, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Basti, Hapur, Firozabad, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Sitapur, Rampur, and Amroha.
Most number of patients have been detected in Agra (240 cases), followed by Lucknow (165), and Noida (95).
Later in the evening, Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash issued an order continuing with the lockdown in the state Capital. “With a large number of hotspots in the city, there is a need for additional vigilance. No new office or services would be opened in Lucknow city areas be it of central Government, state government, semi-government or private; and the protocal for the lockdown would continue in the city areas like before,” the order stated.
A statement issued by the government said that the Chief Minister had asked the district magistrates to ensure that social distancing and lockdown rules are not violated.
“About industrial activities on the district level, decisions must be made after discussions by DMs, Commissioner, DIG, IG, ADG, SP, SSP and district industrial unit officials,” the government added.
On April 16, Chief Secretary RK Tiwari had issued detailed guidelines to all commissioners and district magistrates about the 11 industries that are categorised as “continuous process industries”. They will be allowed to operate from Monday, provided certain conditions are followed.
These 11 industries are steel, refineries, cement, chemical, foundries, fertilizers, cloth (barring apparel), paper, tyre, common effluent treatment plants, and sugar mills. According to the guidelines, transportation of raw material for these industries, as well as necessary maintenance services, will be allowed.
Meanwhile, CM Adityanath instructed officials to put the 8,000-odd students brought back from Kota in Rajasthan under quarantine. The government had arranged more than 250 buses to bring them back.
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