Hyderabad: Announcing further relaxations in lockdown norms, the Telangana government on late Wednesday night permitted all types of shops, except malls, to open in Hyderabad and lifted the night ban on plying state Road Transport Corporation buses.

The Telangana chief minister's office said, "The government has decided to open all shops except those in malls in Hyderabad from Thursday. Since permission to open alternative shops has been given, people are crowding the shops. Hence, it has been decided to permit all the shops to open except those in malls in Hyderabad."

It, however, decided not to allow local buses to run in Hyderabad for some more days in view of the COVID-19 case load, an official release said. Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) held separate meetings with ministers and officials on the COVID-19 situation and implementation of lockdown, among others and took decisions on several issues, it said. 

Also read: Telangana government extends lockdown till May 29

These include payment of the Aasara (social security) pensions without any change, extending provision of 12 kg rice per person to the poor in June in view of the lockdown and continuing with deductions in salaries of public representatives, All India Service officers, government employees, outsourcing and contract workers for this month. However, the financial assistance of Rs 1,500 given to poor ration cardholders would not be given in June, it said. 

The measures have been taken keeping in view the fall in states income, the release said. Telangana should get Rs 12,000 crore every month, but in May it received Rs 3,100 crore, including the state's share in Central taxes (Rs 982 crore), it said. 

On the COVID-19 situation, Rao said people should not feel scared about the virus as the spread was not an alarming scale, though relaxations were given in lockdown guidelines. However, they should be cautious and alert to avoid contracting the virus. 

KCR said the health department was ready to meet any increase in the number of positive cases and provide treatment. He instructed officials concerned to provide emergency care to COVID-19 patients whose health deteriorates, the release said. 

Rao had earlier announced extension of lockdown in the state till May 31, with several relaxations, as per which shops in Hyderabad were allowed to open on an alternate odd-even basis. As per the relaxations on Wednesday, all shops in Hyderabad, except malls, will be allowed to open from May 28. 

State-run RTC buses have been exempted from night time curfew restrictions and will be allowed to ply to their destinations. Taxis, autos and other passenger vehicles would be allowed at the bus stations, the release said. 

Separately, Rao instructed the officials to hold low key state formation day celebrations on June 2 due to the lockdown. "Except paying tribute to the martyrs and hoisting the national flag, no meetings or programmes should be held," the release quoted him as having said.