Salcete residents have expressed that the government should keep a strict vigil on special parcel trains and vehicles coming in with essential commodities into Goa from neighbouring states where there are a large number of COVID-19 cases reported and also since there were instances of people sneaking into the state and going undetected, thereby increasing chances of spread of COVID infection.
These apprehensions of the people hold significance in the wake of reports of people entering the state by hiding in vehicles. The concern is over places like Belagavi and Mumbai and from where people could attempt to enter the state by any means and, hence, tighter surveillance was needed, they said.
“While it is appreciable of the Railways to commence the special parcel trains which ply from one state to another state, however, it is also important for the authorities to see that there are no gaps in this mode of transport. We hear that many people from Karnataka come to Goa on trucks carrying vegetables and milk and do not return. I urge the Chief Minister to step up surveillance in border areas,” said Antonio Mascarenhas of Margao.
Gokuldas Naik of Aquem-Margao said that those dealing with parcel delivery also need to be checked thoroughly. “Details of those on duty on parcel trains and those driving trucks coming in with essential commodities should be maintained and followed up,” he said.
The opposition parties like the Congress and AAP have also raised concern on the issue.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar said that while the government has instilled confidence by declaring the state COVID-free, there was a need to strictly follow the laid down protocol as regards the coronavirus.
Convenor of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Elvis Gomes said that “there are reports that people are coming by parcel trains and vegetable trucks to Goa. Once they come, they go in different directions and the state government has not been able to deal with the situation. Secondly, drivers and workers have been entering through trucks and now that industries are allowed to operate, labour movement has started with some even coming to Goa on foot bypassing the state borders. With relaxed lockdown, this type of situation is expected,’’ he added. Konkan railway has a main station in Margao where material is loaded and unloaded from parcel trains.
The concerned official of Konkan Railway Corporation could not be contact for his comment, however, a senior official of KRC refuted the allegations and maintained that passengers do not travel on parcel trains.