THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After many weeks of stringent Covid-related restrictions, the state government on Thursday announced the resumption of long-distance KSRTC bus services from Saturday and the lifting of trawling ban on Friday night. With the Centre’s Unlock 3.0 guidelines set to remove night curfew from August 1 and allow gymnasiums and yoga institutes to function, the state government too is hinting at a calibrated reopening of various sectors.

from August 1,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said during his daily briefing.With the suspension of long-distance services, KSRTC — since June 26 — has been using relay services connecting neighbouring districts to facilitate long-distance travel. The schedules were arranged in a manner allowing for passengers to alight in the nearest district to catch connection buses to further their journeys. The relay services will run parallel to the long-distance services for at least a week, said an officer with KSRTC.

“The number of long-distance buses will be less to start with, but will be increased gradually depending on the passenger demand,” said the officer.The services will follow the Covid-19 protocol, with no stoppages within containment zones.

With the trawling ban coming to an end, controlled fishing in strict adherence to the Covid protocol will be allowed in the state from August 5, the CM said. Auctioning of fish will be banned. Boats will be allowed to operate, including in containment zones, every alternate day based on their registration numbers. Fish obtained from containment zones can be sold only in those areas and fishermen are not allowed to move out to sell fish.“Excess catch will reach markets through cooperative societies,” he said.After work, fishers are to return to the same place from where they set out for fishing.

Local-level committees, comprising harbour management society members, fishermen representatives and officials, will be constituted to fix the price and to control the fishing activities and sales.

The CM urged schools to limit the timing of virtual classes. He said private schools were providing classes online for up to five hours. Some students also have tuitions, of two to three extra hours, making the virtual session extend up to seven hours. Besides physical strain, it also causes mental stress, anxiety, attention deficit and sleeplessness.

“On the lines of government schools, classes should be limited to a few hours. Also, online classes should be conducted live to ensure communication. Classes should not be conducted at one stretch and adequate breaks should be provided. It can be conducted in morning and afternoon sessions,” he said.  He suggested a special curriculum for online education and a reduction in homework. The CM said the digital education initiatives implemented by the state have received national recognition. As per a Ministry of Education report on ‘Strides in Distance Education’, Kerala has been presented as the best model in the country, he said.

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