Karnataka closes borders with Kerala again

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PTI

Kasaragod (Kerala)

With the Karnataka government reinstating stricter control of transit passengers from Kerala in view of increasing COVID-19 positive cases, people bound to Mangaluru and other parts of Dakshina Kannada from here for various purposes, including medical needs and studies, are in a fix again.

Long queues of vehicles could be seen in the border areas since morning as Karnataka authorities sealed many roads, including national highways, allowing entry only for those with COVID negative certificates.

The Dakshina Kannada authorities sealed all borders from Monda, except four to cross over, sources said.

According to Karnataka officials at the borders, those who wish to enter the state have to produce COVID negative certificate through an RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to their cross over time.

Health and police personnel are on duty at the four borders, viz. Talapady in Mangalore taluk, Saradka in Bantwal, Nettanige-Mudnuru in Puttur taluk and Jalsoor in Sullia, to verify and allow people’s entry into Karnataka.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the issue would be brought to the notice of the Centre.

“Karnataka’s move closing the border roads and blocking vehicles is against the central government’s guidelines that no state should impose any restriction on the inter-state travel,” he said.

Speaking at the COVID review meeting at Thiruvananthapuram, he also said state DGP Loknath Behera had already brought the matter to the notice of his counterpart in Karnataka, who assured that vehicles carrying essential commodities would be exempted from the restrictions.

The state government would continue to be in touch with the Karnataka authorities to resolve the issue completely, he added.

The residents in and around Kasaragod, the northernmost district of Kerala, have been thronging Mangaluru in Karnataka for decades for treatment at the specialty hospitals there.

People in and around Kasaragod had struggled a lot during the initial days of the lockdown when authorities in Karnataka restricted movement of people into their territory.

Strict guidelines on producing medical certificates to get an entry for critically ill patients had also turned out to be a nightmare for follow-up treatments during those days.

There were instances of patients dying as the authorities disallowed their entry, even for critical medical care.

However, the intervention of the Supreme Court had facilitated permission to critically ill patients to cross over to Mangaluru for treatment.

Now the plight of the poor from the district is pathetic as they need to undergo a Rs 1,700 RT-PCR test to enable entry into Mangaluru for follow-up treatment, local people complained.