Lockdown to continue in Telangana till May 7


The Telangana government on Sunday extended the lockdown in the State to fight Coronavirus till May 7 as against the Centre’s decision to have it up to May 3.

Also, going against the Centre’s relaxation of certain conditions of lockdown from April 20, the State government ruled out any such concessions here. The guidelines issued by the State government when the lockdown was initially imposed till April 30 will continue.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao told a post-Cabinet press conference that the State government drew its powers to override the Centre’s decision from the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The powers of Centre and State were co-terminus as per the Act, he said and reminded that the Centre had also permitted the State governments to lay down their own norms if they felt stricter measures were required to contain the virus.

He said the decision not to relax the lockdown was taken in a bid to check the spread of the virus after localising it.

Airports closed

He asked the air passengers not to book tickets to Hyderabad till May 7 as the airport will be closed. The airport authorities will be informed of the decision of the Cabinet.

The Cabinet also decided to ban the online food delivery apps — Swiggy and Zomato — from Monday as non-home food was not found safe in this period. It was found that 69 % of people who consumed pizza tested positive for COVID-19 in New Delhi.

Referring to the upcoming Ramzan month, he said mass prayers in mosques will not be allowed as it was decided not to allow religious congregations and festivals.

The 50 % cut in the salary of government staff in April pay out will continue for May also. The cut in salaries of public representatives will be 75 %. However, family pensioners will get 75 % of their pension amounts. The incentive of 10 % of gross salary for front line workers involved in anti-coronavirus measures will continue next month. They include health, police and municipal staff. But, the operations and maintenance staff and artisans of power utilities who numbered 34,512 will get 100 % salary as they ensured uninterrupted power supply at a critical time when the crop came up for harvest.

School fee

The Cabinet decided that the 10,000-odd private schools where over 30 lakh children studied will not be allowed to hike even a rupee of fee in 2020-21. They can collect only tuition fee on monthly basis and not in lumpsum quarterly, half yearly or annually. They need collect only tuition fee and no other heads.

He said the 12 kg free rice per head and ₹ 1,500 per family which were distributed recently will continue for one more turn up to May 7. A similar benefit extended to migrant workers will also continue for one more round.

The fixed power charges of industries will be waived for lockdown period but recovered subsequently in instalments.

He announced the taking over of a 14-storeyed building within the Gachibowli Sports Complex for setting up Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences and Research which will also run a post-graduate programme for students. The building has now been modified with 1,500 beds to treat COVID-19 patients. When the COVID care ceased, half of the beds will be used for a general hospital and the remaining half for multi-speciality care.

A Group of Ministers was constituted to frame sports policy for the State.

Function halls

Mr. Rao denied permission for events at function halls for another one month. All marriage halls will be seized and used for storing foodgrains in view of a bumper crop expected in the ongoing harvest.

He also said he had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi today to defer repayment of loans to Central agencies and interest relaxation for the first two quarters of the current year as the State government had suffered a revenue loss of ₹ 15,000 crore per month.

The Cabinet will meet again on May 5 to review the situation. The meeting will take a call on rescheduling the academic year.

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