New Delhi, April 23 : The government on Thursday issued a direction clarifying that the lockdown guidelines should not be misused to harass the management of any manufacturing or commercial establishments.
The instruction from the Home Ministry, issued to all states and Union Territories (UTs), said that the directive should be communicated to all the field establishments and field offices for its implementation.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in the direction to the Chief Secretaries of all the states, clarified that "no fresh licence or statutory approval is required for resumption of permitted activities during the lockdown period."
As per the direction, an industrial activity allowed to operate prior to the lockdown needs no fresh statutory approval once it has been included as permitted activity under the consolidated revised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and has complied with the standard operating procedure (SOP) on social distancing.
"I would like to request to all the state and UT governments that the industrial field establishments and field offices may be apprised of the guidelines of lockdown measures which should be followed to prevent the spread of the epidemic.
These should not be misused to harass the management of any manufacturing or commercial establishment," the letter said.
It also clarified that the consolidated revised guidelines dated April 15, except in containment zones, have subsumed all the earlier activities that were permitted under the earlier guidelines issued on March 24 -- the day when the lockdown was imposed to break the chain of transmission of novel coronavirus.
"The fresh consolidated guidelines do not curtail these exemptions already provided earlier, unless the exempted activity falls within a containment zone.
Therefore, no separate permissions are required from authorities for industries already permitted to operate prior to April 15 in areas falling outside containment zones," the letter said.
The Home Secretary also rejected some apprehensions such 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 three months; and in case of non-compliance of precautionary measures, the factory may be closed down for two days and may be allowed to restart after full compliance -- saying they are based on "wrong interpretation".
"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," Bhalla said in the letter.