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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Won’t open borders despite pressure: Haryana Minister Anil Vij

Blaming Delhi for the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Haryana government had sealed its borders with the national capital last week.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Ambala | Published: May 6, 2020 3:53:44 am
Won’t open borders despite pressure: Haryana Minister Several people were stranded after Gurgaon shut its borders last week. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Haryana will not relax the curbs it has placed on entry into the state from Delhi, despite pressure from “politicians and bureaucracy”, Haryana health and home minister Anil Vij told The Indian Express on Tuesday.

Blaming Delhi for the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Haryana government had sealed its borders with the national capital last week. “The situation in Delhi is extremely critical because coronavirus has spread to a large extent. There are more than 100 hotspots in Delhi. People who live in the vicinity frequently travel to Delhi. That was the reason why Haryana witnessed a sudden increase in cases. Then I had to seal the borders. I need to first save my state. If we survive, only then can we help others,” said Vij.

“Our recovery rate had reached 72.72%, second in the country after Kerala. However, cases have increased in districts adjoining the national capital. Earlier, we had rounded up 1,700 Tablighis, and due to their earlier screening, 120 tested positive. We gave them adequate and prompt treatment, and they recovered. Our active patient count had dipped to 81. We were hoping that in another 15 days, we would be COVID-free. But, suddenly cases started increasing, especially in adjoining districts of Delhi,” he added.

Delhi has seen over 4,898 COVID-19 cases so far, including among those who came to the city from other countries before flights were cancelled. Sixty-four of these people have died and 1,431 have recovered. Long lines were seen at the Delhi-Gugaon and Delhi-Faridabad border after sealing, with many working in essential services such as healthcare and banking sectors unable to cross over.

Speaking about the opposition to the government’s decision, Vij said: “I have to face a lot of opposition due to this decision. Majority of people who commute between Gurugram-Delhi, Faridabad-Delhi, Sonipat-Delhi and Jhajjar-Delhi are high-ups. They have more contacts. Till date, I am facing pressure from politicians, bureaucracy and other people. But I did not pay any heed and ordered that the borders shall remain sealed. We shall not allow anybody to enter Haryana unless he/she tests negative for coronavirus,” he said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier said he was in touch with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and was working on a solution to the problem. “We are looking at the possibility of making lodging arrangements for essential staff in Delhi. We have to fight the disease while remaining united,” he had said.

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