The Union government on Friday exempted the operations of the fishing or marine aquaculture industry, including harvesting, sale and marketing activities, from the purview of the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
In a communication to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union territories, the Union Home Ministry said the decision has been taken by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla in his capacity as chairperson of the National Executive Committee constituted under the Disaster Management Act.
"Operations of the fishing (marine)/ aquaculture industry, including feeding and maintenance, harvesting, processing, packaging, cold chain, sale and marketing; hatcheries, feed plants, commercial aquaria, movement of fish/ shrimp and fish products, fish seed/ feed and workers for all these activities were exempted from the lockdown," the communication said.
However, the home ministry said, as specified in the lockdown measures, social distancing and proper hygiene practices must be ensured in each of the above-mentioned activities as well as the activities permitted by earlier orders.
It will be the responsibility of the head of the organisation or the establishment to ensure compliance of such norms, it said.
The communication also said the district authorities will ensure strict enforcement of the norms pertaining to social distancing and hygienic practices.
The central government, while announcing the lockdown, had announced that shops selling essential commodities including online platforms will remain open besides services like health, sanitation, police and media.
The home ministry had also asked the states and union territories to ensure smooth harvesting and sowing operations, saying agricultural activities were exempted from the lockdown.
It also allowed opening of shops selling agriculture machinery and their spare parts; shops for truck repairs on highways, preferably at petrol pumps; tea industry, including plantation with maximum of 50 per cent workers, during the lockdown period.
Movement of essential and non-essential cargo was also allowed by the government. The 21-day lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 in a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic.