MHA clears air on coronavirus lockdown guidelines for industries

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary
| New Delhi |

Published: April 24, 2020 12:47:27 am

The nationwide lockdown was extended to May 3. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

A day after issuing a clarification that its lockdown guidelines have been “misinterpreted” to suggest there would be punitive action against industries if anyone was found COVID-19 positive on their premises, the Centre on Thursday wrote to all states, further clarifying there are no such provisions in the guidelines.

It has also told the states that no fresh permissions are required for industries which were granted exemption in the March 24 lockdown guidelines.

In a letter sent to states, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has said, “Some apprehensions, based on wrong interpretation of the guidelines, have been raised in the media and by some companies having manufacturing facilities… I would like to clarify that there is no such clause in the consolidated revised guidelines and therefore there is no basis for such misplaced apprehensions.”

The MHA has listed apprehensions as: “States may take legal action, including imprisonment of CEO, in case a COVID-19 positive employee is found in the factory; In such a situation, the premises of the factory would be sealed for 3 months; In case of non-compliance of precautionary measures, the factory may be closed down for 2 days and may be allowed to restart after full compliance.”

With reports of some state authorities seeking fresh permission from certain industrial units after extended lockdown guidelines kicked in, MHA has said since the March 24 guidelines have been subsumed in the April 15 guidelines, exemptions granted in the former would hold true.

It has cautioned that “it is important that all workplaces take measures to ensure social distancing and follow standard health protocols as notified by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.” It has, however, said this should not be misused to “harass” industrial units.

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