The memorandum submitted to the PM also sought to open hospitality services while maintaining strict physical distancing inside the restaurants.

People waiting for train at Thrissur railway station in KeralaImage for representation
Coronavirus Lockdown Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 08:36

Kerala on Tuesday sought opening of domestic air travel, intra-state passenger trains and metro rail services in a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the time was not ripe to commence inter-state railway services.

The state submitted the suggestions as instructed by the Centre after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's video conference with all the chief ministers on Monday.

"However, we have sought special non-stop trains from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and other major cities," Pinarayi told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

The state has suggested intra-district bus service with limited number of passengers and strict health protocols including practice of physical distancing.

"The state has suggested intra-district bus service but not inter-district services. The bus service can be allowed by strictly following physical distancing. Since the buses will have to ply with a limited number of passengers, the fares can be hiked to compensate for the loss," Pinarayi suggested.

The memorandum also sought to open hospitality services maintaining strict physical distancing inside the restaurants with the seats arranged accordingly.

"Industrial and commercial activities should be allowed in rural and urban areas except in the Containment Zones. The government is of the view that the construction work should proceed at a rapid pace and steps be taken to procure necessary materials. Construction work needs to be completed before the rains," Pinarayi said.

The Chief Minister had on Monday suggested to the Prime Minister that states should have the "flexibility" in changing lockdown guidelines and allowing public and Metro rail services by following physical distancing norms, except in red zones.

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

With five more people testing positive for the coronavirus, a total of 32 persons are under treatment for the pandemic in the state. On Tuesday, CM also said that about 70% of the patients in Kerala are those who came from outside the state.

(With inputs from PTI)


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