In his call with PM Modi, CM Pinarayi Vijayan asked to allow public and metro rail services, with social distancing norms, except in red zones.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi at a press conference
news Lockdown Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 08:17

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday suggested to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that states should have the "flexibility" in changing lockdown guidelines and allowing public and metro rail services by following social distancing norms, except in red zones.

CM Pinarayi, who spoke during the video conference held by Modi with state Chief Ministers, also suggested that antibody test be conducted on expatriates before they arrive from various countries.

"Kerala has a substantial population of Non Residents staying abroad. Some of them are coming back in special flights and many more are likely to come back. Whenever they are transported by special flights, they should be subjected to antibody test prior to boarding,” he said, adding that there was a possibility of many travellers getting infected if this was not done.

"We are already facing a situation wherein five positive cases were reported from passengers who came to the state in chartered flights last week,” he said.

As states were facing challenges of COVID-19 in different degrees, each one should have the "flexibility" in making reasonable changes in lockdown related guidelines within their respective jurisdiction, the CM said.

On allowing public and metro rail transport

He also said that after assessing the situation prevailing in a state, the respective state should have the flexibility to allow public transport, subject to social distancing norms and restrictions within districts.

The Chief Minister suggested that metro rail transport be allowed in cities other than in red zones, subject to similar restrictions.

Three wheeler transport can also be allowed subject to capacity restrictions after considering the situation in a district by the state governments, he added.

CM Pinarayi also wanted states to be allowed to operate industrial and trade establishments, taking into consideration the ground situation, but with restrictions like social distancing in areas, except containment zones.

Use Shramik special trains to bring back stranded people

On the lines of Shramik special trains to take migrant workers back to their states, CM Pinarayi also wanted special trains to bring back people from Kerala stranded in other states.

Pointing out that the state has already demanded a special train from Delhi to Kerala, mainly for students, he said that tickets for these trains should be issued according to the registrations made with the state government.

This is because the state had given priority to students, those with medical emergencies, aged people among others.

However, railways have started online bookings regardless of the state's registration, he said, adding that this would only help undermine Kerala's efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Kerala also wanted non-stop trains from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru to bring back its people stranded due to the lockdown.

Also read: Water levels in Kerala dams higher than 2019: Experts seek flood protocol

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