Bengaluru: Karnataka government decided to ease down on lockdown restrictions to a significant extent on Thursday. Authorities are yet to allow movement of public transport in the state.
Following a Cabinet meeting, the government announced that industries in all areas except in containment zones will be allowed to resume operations, which includes public sector units, large industries, small and medium enterprises and IT companies. However, there will be conditions in the operations of the IT sector in particular. The industry has been asked to continue as much as possible with work-from-home for its employees (as the Central government’s policy allows the same till July 31.)
"It wouldn't be a surprise if the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect all of us for another three months. By and large, Karnataka has been able to control its spread," said state’s Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.
All industries including non-essential ones are allowed to function from May 4. "Masks, sanitisation and social distancing norms must be adhered to strictly. As of now, they can function with 50 per cent workforce from May 4," said Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar.
A meeting of industrialists and industry bodies has been convened by the CM on Thursday evening to discuss other conditions- needs of industries, facilitating the transport of raw materials, and most importantly, the workforce. The meeting will also decide when the entire workforce would join back.
The permission of movement to public transport has not been granted. So workers will have to use private vehicles or vehicles arranged by their companies. The government would allow companies to hire buses if they require.
"There is no service of buses or railways, so transport is the responsibility of the industrialist," Shettar said.
No malls and cinemas will be allowed to start operation even after May 3.
Decisions on the reopening of salons will be taken after May 3, once the Central government comes out with fresh guidelines.
The decision on the sale of liquor has been put off to May 3. The Excise and Finance department has told the government that their coffers are empty, there is not enough money to pay employees’ salaries. However, the state government awaits the Central government guidelines on this issue as well.
Although no public transport is available, the inter-district movement by people within Karnataka will not be stalled. It will be facilitated as and when needed, Cabinet announced.
Over the last week, authorities have facilitated the movement of migrant workers via government-run buses within the state.
The government will allow inter-state movement of students, migrant workers who have come to Karnataka and want to go back to their native states.
The government announced that it will arrange special buses -- as this is the only transport allowed under the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines. If in case, there are groups of four or a family of three/ four, they can arrange personal taxis but if the group is large, the government will arrange buses.
For inter-district travel, about 21 people have been allowed on 56-seater buses -- so for a larger number of workers, the number of buses would be much more.
Cement and steel shops can open, crushers can begin operations, said the Cabinet.
However, the Sub-Registrar offices have started functioning, they will facilitate passes for people via WhatsApp if people want to go to these offices for any work.