As the Kerala lockdown imposed to check the coronavirus outbreak enters Day 9 on Tuesday, the state has opened up many avenues to make life a tad easier for its 3.3 crore population. It has also warned of strict action against mischief making, considering the seriousness of the crisis. Make no mistake, authorities would not be tolerating any April Fool pranks. Onmanorama compiles a list of essential and other services available at the time of crisis in the state.
Say no to April Fool pranks
The Kerala Police have warned against spreading any rumours or attempting April Fool's day pranks on social media and other platforms. State Police Chief Loknath Behera said strict action would be taken against mischief makers. The Hi-Tech Crime Enquiry Cell, Cyberdome, and cyber police stations of the state police have been directed to track the offenders.
No entry at Sabarimala on Vishu
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) said devotees won't be allowed entry to hill shrine of Sabarimala during Vishu due to the nation-wide lockdown. Earlier restrictions were imposed till Tuesday, but it will now be in effect till April 14, the TDB said.
Free ration, food grain kits from today
The free ration distribution announced by the state government will start from Wednesday. The free food-grain kits will also be distributed this week. Everyday, priority groups will be served the free ration till noon, Food and Civil Supplies department authorities informed. Ration distribution for non-priority groups will be in the afternoon. Free ration distribution will be completed before April 20.
Ecotourism centres shut
All ecotourism destinations in Kerala have been shut until further notice. All gatherings have been prohibited in the forest areas in the state. The restrictions are applicable to all the wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and the ecotourism centres.
Crime Branch probe on contacts of COVID-19 victim
Crime Branch is probing the contacts of the 68-year-old man hailing from Pothencode in Thiruvananthapuram, who died of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The state police department has appealed to the people to immediately inform the COVID-19 Control Room at the phone numbers 9497900112 and 9497900121, if they have had close contact with the man after March 2.
Driving licenses, vehicle registrations
The validity of expired driving licenses and vehicle registrations have been extended till June 30. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken the decision to facilitate renewing the validity of various motor vehicle documents in view of the closure of government transport offices. The documents include permits (all types), driving licence and vehicle registration.
Stranded foreign tourists
The Ministry of Tourism has launched a portal to disseminate information regarding services that can be availed by stranded foreign tourists in the country. A portal http://strandedinindia.com/ ,
to act as a support network for foreign tourists stuck in various parts of the country, has been launched, the Tourism Ministry informed.
Validity period extension, additional talktime
BSNL and MTNL will extend validity period of their prepaid mobile services till April 20 and offer Rs 10 additional talktime even after zero balance, to enable users, especially poor and underprivileged, to stay connected during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
Bharti Airtel also announced an extension in the validity period of more than 8 crore pre-paid connections until April 17 as well as credited talk time of Rs 10 in these accounts.
Prohibitory orders extended till April 14 in Pathanamthitta
The prohibitory order, which are currently in effect at Kerala's Pathanamthitta district, will remain in force till April 14. District Collector P B Nooh asked the police stations in the district to extend the currently imposed restrictions till April 14 midnight.
When the section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code is in force, it would be illegal for more than five people to come together in a single place.
Kochi Metro services suspended till April 14
In view of the nationwide lockdown,the Kochi Metro services will remain suspended till April 14. This is to ensure people are practising social distancing and are staying at home during the lockdown, KMRL MD Alkesh Kumar Sharma said.
NTA extends deadline for entrance applications
The National Testing Agency (NTA) on Tuesday extended the last date for submission of entrance test forms at seven major educational institutions in the view of the coronavirus outbreak.
The seven institutions include Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) where the last date for submission of applications has now been extended till April 30.
For the UGC-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET)-June 2020, the new last date is May 16 and May 15 for the CSIR-National Eligibility Test (CSIR-NET)-June 2020.
The last date for the All India AYUSH Postgraduate Entrance Test is May 31.
Banks extend working hours
Banks have extended working hours from 10am to 4 pm till April 4. The arrangement will continue till April 4.
This is being done to curb the expected rush to withdraw salary, service pension and welfare pension.
SLBC clarified that beneficiaries should not hurry to withdraw the welfare pension and centre's financial aid as it will remain intact in their account.
On April 2, service pension will be distributed to those whose bank account number ends with 0 and 1. On April 3, pension will be given to those whose account number ends with 2 and 3.
Here is the distribution schedule:
April 2: Account numbers ending with 0 and 1
April 3: Account numbers ending with 2 and 3
April 4: Account numbers ending with 4 and 5
April 6: Account numbers ending with 6 and 7
Essential commodities at your home
Kerala police cyberdome has come out with an app to facilitate the delivery of essential commodities at your home till lockdown is in effect. The facility is in association with the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi.
Consumers and traders can use the app or website.
Vehicle passes online
The affidavit and vehicle pass for emergency trips during the lockdown woul be made available online too, state police chief Loknath Behera informed. Public can access the facilities on https://pass.bsafe.kerala.gov.in.
One person can avail the affidavit and vehicle pass only thrice a week. There will be legal action against those misusing the facility.