?A traffic snarl lasting hours was seen on NH-24 near the Ghazipur fruit and vegetable market Tuesday after Ghaziabad sealed it borders with Delhi, citing a spike in COVID-19 cases due to inter-city travel. All vehicles were stopped and checked individually by Ghaziabad Police. Many vehicles, even those with a Delhi curfew passes, were turned back, as district officials emphasised on the need for an Uttar Pradesh e-pass to go through.
Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said: “We have asked Delhi government officials to issue passes in limited numbers, as prescribed in the MHA guidelines. The IDs of employees won’t be valid and fresh COVID-19 passes will be required. We are reaching an agreement to facilitate lesser and required movement.”
Ghaziabad ADM Shailendra Kumar Singh added: “Today, we allowed essential services such as medical cases, ration and grocery vans or trucks to pass.”
Among those stuck, despite having required ID proof and doctors’ prescriptions, were those with medical issues. Zulfikar (35), his wife and brother were returning to Moradabad after getting his six-year-old son checked at AIIMS for a tumour in the neck. A farmer, Zulfikar said, “We have been getting him treated at AIIMS; he needed chemotherapy.”
Ali Khan (34) and his wife Zubeda (33) were going to a private clinic in Indirapuram from their Jangpura home. “My wife is pregnant and we have been consulting this doctor for a while. We are late for our appointment.”
Among those not allowed to enter the national capital were Delhi Jal Board employees, despite them showing passes issued by the department.
Shalabh Kumar, member (water supply) at the DJB, said he spoke to the Ghaziabad district magistrate and was told that the employees would be allowed to cross the border from Wednesday.
“We have issued passes to all our employees and they were being allowed into Delhi until now, but they were stopped on Tuesday. We somehow managed today, but if this situation were to persist our services would have been affected. I was told that from tomorrow, they will allow our staff (to cross the border) with passes that are issued in their (Ghaziabad administration’s) format,” Kumar said.
Bank employees and those who work with online delivery services were also stopped.
Saurabh Sharma (40), working in finance at the Flipkart office in Mayur Vihar Phase 3, said, “I was heading to my home in Raj Nagar Extension. They usually stop and ask for an ID or a Delhi curfew pass, which I have, and let me go. But today, it was difficult.” Sharma was stopped by police, who later allowed him to go.
Sumit Chauhan (23), who works as a part-time sweeper at a Punjab National Bank branch in Patparganj, said, “I was stopped at the checkpoint as I was returning home to Indirapuram. I managed to negotiate and get through to Ghaziabad at another check point on the highway, after close to two hours.”
An official from the Ghaziabad district administration said, “Doctors did an analysis and realised that most of the positive COVID-19 cases we are seeing are due to the inter-city travel.”
According to officials, the confusion at the border was due to lack of clarity about passes.
“We are strictly enforcing the administration’s orders of restricting movement. Several people who were earlier being allowed with IDs had come to the border. The order specifically says that those involved in transport of essential goods and others who have passes will be allowed. The issue is being resolved and movement of traffic will regularise accordingly,” said SP (Rural) Ghaziabad Neeraj Jadaun.
Following Ghaziabad, the Gautam Budh Nagar adminstration also sealed its borders with Delhi. “Based on the medical department’s advice, we are sealing our Delhi borders. We have issued guidelines with regard to exceptions as well,” said Suhas LY, DM, Gautam Budh Nagar.
In both Noida and Ghaziabad, transportation of essential goods will not be impacted by the sealing. Government officials, doctors, those providing essential services will not be stopped by authorities — provided they have the passes.
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