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Covid negative result must to enter Karnataka; Kerala CM flays state’s travel curbs amid tension at border

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai Friday announced weekend curfew in districts of the state bordering Kerala and Maharashtra to curb the spread of Covid-19.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 6, 2021 7:15:16 pm
Police personnel check the Covid-19 test report of travellers at Talapady checkpost at Kerala-Karnataka border in Mangaluru. (PTI Photo)

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai Friday announced weekend curfew in districts of the state bordering Kerala and Maharashtra. A detailed order regarding the guidelines will be issued soon, he said. The decision was taken at a high-level committee meeting held by the chief minister.

Days after Karnataka imposed fresh travel curbs on persons from Kerala in view of the Covid-19 situation, the neighbouring state’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Thursday that the restrictions were against the Union home ministry’s directive.

Detailing the restrictions, Vijayan said the Karnataka government has made it mandatory for travellers from Kerala to produce an RT-PCR negative certificate taken within 72 hours to be able to enter the state. He pointed out that the Union home ministry had asked states to not impose travel curbs that involve closing their borders. “The Karnataka government has imposed the new restrictions against the Central government’s directive,” he told the state Assembly.

Hundreds of travellers from Kerala were recently turned away from Talapady border by Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada police as they did not have RT-PCR negative reports. Infuriated by the “sudden decision” of the Karnataka government, several passengers staged a road roko at the border. Protesters said the worst-hit were the people of Kasaragod district in Kerala, who travel to Mangaluru in the neighbouring state for work, education or medical treatment. They urged the district administration to hold Covid tests at Talapady and allow them to enter Mangaluru. Police also threatened the protesters with arrest.

“Officials of that state had tightened inspection at the border check post in Talapady from August 2. The state police was giving special attention to ensure that the curbs were causing no inconvenience to those going for treatment in hospitals in Karnataka and those belonging to the essential service sector,” Vijayan said.

Tension also prevailed at the Maharashtra-Karnataka border in Kolhapur Thursday after Shiv Sena activists protested against mandatory RT-PCR test reports for commuters entering Karnataka from Maharashtra.

Sena’s Kolhapur district chief Sanjay Pawar said they protested for nearly two hours at the Kognoli check post. “Vehicles of Kagal, Ajra, Chandgad and Gadinglaj (parts of Maharashtra) have to pass through the border check post to enter their villages and towns. They have no choice as this is the only route. Why should people from Maharashtra produce the reports when they are entering their own state?,” he asked.

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