New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday extended relaxation to several agricultural and commercial industries from the lockdown restrictions. In the commercial sector, shops selling textbooks and establishments selling electric fans can also operate.
In the agricultural sector, the relaxation has been extended to facilities for export or import such as pack houses, inspection and treatment facilities for seeds and horticulture produce. It also includes relaxation to research establishments dealing with the agriculture and horticulture activities and the inter- and intra-state movement of planting materials and honey bee colonies, honey and other beehive products.
The Union Home Ministry also ordered Standard Operating Procedure for the sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers (crew members) at Indian ports and their movement. According to the SOP laid down for sign-in of an Indian crew member, the ministry said that the seafarer will have to intimate their travel and contact history for the last 28 days to the shipowner or the recruitment and placement service.
The same can be done through email, as per procedure laid down by the Director-General of Shipping.
"The crew member, however, will be tested for COVID-19 before boarding the ship and will be allowed to sign-in only if he is tested negative," the ministry said.
"For sign-off purposes, the Indian seafarer arriving on the vessel would undergo the COVID-19 test for confirmation that he/she is negative for COVID-19," it added. The crew member will be kept in a quarantine centre until the report arrives.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday urged the Centre to frame guidelines by April-end to send home the migrants stuck in the state due to lockdown, amid indications of an extension in the restrictions
Thackeray conveyed this in a video-conference chat with a 5-member Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) which arrived in the state for an assessment of the Covid-19 management and the lockdown here.
While the state has made adequate arrangements for food and shelter of the 'guests' from other states, there have been occasions when the migrants have resorted to agitational methods, like the Bandra incident of April 14 which rattled the Centre and state.
"If the centre apprehends that the Covid-19 impact may worsen between April 30-May 15, then the government must consider running special trains to send the migrants back to their native states, for which guidelines must be formed by April-end. I have already raised this issue with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Thackeray said.
Apart from the IMCT team members, led by Additional Secretary, Food Processing Industries, Manoj Joshi, Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta, BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi and Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh also participated.
The CM urged that "end-to-end: precautions should be taken for migrants from the starting point till they reach their destinations and are sent to home quarantine to prevent further spread of Covid-19.
The state has also asked the Central team to study the status of Covid-19 pandemic and patients in other countries like the UAE and the US, since 80 per cent of the patients here are asymptomatic.