Thiruvananthapuram, April 11: Kerala Chief Minister, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan today disclosed that Kerala has asked for an extension of the lockdown period as the threat of Covid-19 continues and supported a gradual phasing down of the same after proper assessment. He placed this suggestion of the State during a meeting of the Prime Minister with the Chief Ministers today which was conducted through video-conferencing.
“The current restrictions in places identified as Covid hotspots should continue till April 30 but when it comes to other places (non-hotspot districts), we have asked for the State Governments to be given permission to announce relaxations as per the local requirements. Any opening up of the transport sector would accelerate the spread of the infection and also, increases the risk of a community spread”, he added.
There are 3,85,000 migrant labourers in Kerala who wants to go back to their respective native places. The State Government has requested the Central Government to arrange special non-stop trains for them after April 14 which would enable them to go back to their homes. The State has also requested that they are given financial assistance for the next three months through Direct Benefit Transfer mechanism.
The State Government reiterated its demand for permission to issue special Pandemic Relief Bonds and increasing the borrowing limit.
Kerala today asked the Indian Embassies in countries with a substantial number of Pravasi Malayalis to give them all possible help and support during this pandemic outbreak. The Centre should arrange special flights to bring back people who went aboard on short-term and visiting visas and are now stuck overseas. This should be done after following the international travel protocol laid by WHO.
The Chief Minister today announced that Norka Roots has started helpdesks in several countries and they would bring the issues of the expatriate Malayalees to the notice of the concerned authorities so that they get timely help. He also appreciated the services of various community volunteer organisation in the UAE who were helping the pravasies there. “Although we are doing whatever we can to help the Pravasi Malayalies, they should realise that we have limitation in doing things in a foreign country. Please be assured that the Government and Norka is there to help the non-resident Keralites”, he added.
Minister of Health and Social Justice, Smt K K Shailaja Teacher; Revenue Minister, Shri E Chandrasekharan, and Chief Secretary, Shri Tom Jose IAS were also present during the media briefing.