Lockdown norms partially relaxed in Karnataka from today

Bengaluru, Apr 23 (PTI) The Karnataka government has

partially relaxed COVID-19 lockdown norms in the state allowing IT and IT-enabled services to operate with essential minimum staff and also certain construction activities, manufacturing of packaging materials, courier services, among others from Thursday.

The activities will be permitted only outside the COVID-19 containment zones identified by the government.

There were reports of some large-scale traffic movement in some parts of the city this morning as lockdown curbs were relaxed.

“To mitigate hardship to the public, select additional activities have been allowed,which will come into effect from 00.00 hours of April 23,” Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar had said in an order on Wednesday.

However, these additional activities will be operationalised by District Administrations and BBMP (city corporation in the case of Bengaluru city) based on strict compliance to the guidelines on lockdown measures, it said.

Before operationalising these relaxations, district administrations and BBMP (city corporation) shall ensure that all the preparatory arrangements on social distancing in offices, work place establishments as also sectoral requirements are in place, it added.

IT and IT-enabled services will be allowed to operate with essential minimum staff only while the rest would work from home.

Official sources said, IT companies will work on essential staff required to work from office spaces and will mobilise them.

Earlier on April 18, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, hours after announcing that IT/BT companies can resume operations with 33 per cent strength after April 20, had rolled it back, citing public opinion as the reason.

Facing a financial crunch, the state government has been eager to kick-start economic activities in the state that had come to halt due to the coronavirus lockdown.

There were reports of some large-scale traffic movement being noticed in some parts of the city this morning, which came in for criticism from the Karnataka Congress.

“Announcement of partial relief to ease lockdown by @BSYBJP has created chaos in #Bengaluru today. Massive traffic jams are reported across city with confusions & no proper guidelines. This shows lack of co-ordination in Governance with improper planning,” the opposition party in the state tweeted.

While hospitality services, bars, malls, theatres, shopping complexes, religious and places of worship among others will continue to remain shut, according to Wednesday’s order, relaxation of norms would be for activities that are linked to essential services such as health, infrastructure and agriculture.

As per the order, while, public transportation will continue to remain suspended till May 3, private vehicles with passes for emergency services and personnel commuting with passes to places of work and back will be allowed.

Services provided by self-employed people like electrician, IT repair, plumbers, motor mechanics and carpenters in local areas have also been given exemption.

Tea, coffee and rubber plantations have been allowed to work with 50 per cent workforce, and a similar exemption have been given to processing, packaging, sale and marketing of these produce.

Activities permitted include construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and all kinds of industrial projects, including MSMEs, in rural areas and all kinds of projects in industrial estates, where workers are available on site and no one is required to be brought in from outside.

Also permitted to function are manufacturing units of essential goods – drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw materials and intermediates; food processing industries in rural areas, coal production (mines and mineral production and activities incidental to mining) besides manufacturing units of packaging materials.

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