Kerala has opened its borders for its people stranded in other states as the third-leg of the extended lockdown began. As many as 5,470 passes have been issued till Monday evening to those who have registered with the state government agency Norka Roots.
At six inter-state border points, elaborate arrangements have been made to screen the passengers who want to enter the state. Those with suspected Covid-19 symptoms would be tested and isolated in hospital. Asymptomatic people would be directed to quarantine themselves at homes. A local-level vigilant committee would be monitoring their quarantine for 14 days. The committee would have representatives of self-governing bodies, health, revenue and police departments as its members. If those who have been ordered home quarantine do not have facilities at their home, the local panchayat would arrange common centres to lodge such persons.
Kerala has not made any transport arrangements for the return of those stranded in other states. They have to arrange for their own transport. Drivers of hired vehicles also have to be home quarantined.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that entry passes have been issued to the priority elderly persons, pregnant women and students. If someone wants to pick up their family members from other states, permission should be obtained from such states as well as from collectors of their home districts in Kerala. Those coming from other states should get sanction from that state and should undergo health screening before venturing the journey, if required.
Vijayan said 1.66 lakh Keralites in other states have registered with NORKA ROOTS expressing their interest in returning to Kerala. So far, 28,272 persons have applied for passes to enter the state and 5,470 passes have been issued, he said.
The Chief Minister said only one fifth of those registered persons would be able to return home either by using their own vehicle or hiring one. It would be difficult for others to return home if travel facilities are not arranged. Hence, the state has sought the support of the Union Government in this regard, he said.
He said the Prime Minister was requested to allow non-stop trains from other states to Kerala to facilitate the return of Keralites stranded in various parts of the country following the lockdown.
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