Many road commuters heading to Gujarat have been caught unaware about the need for having a negative RT-PCR test report before entering the state. Since April 1, over 700 motorists traveling from Maharashtra to Gujarat border at Talasari in Palghar have been turned away from the border by Gujarat Police.
The Gujarat government had last month decided that anyone entering the state will have to carry a RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours starting April 1. Only those having a medical emergency, like cancer patients in need of chemotherapy, victims of road accidents and facing similar problems, were exempt from this rule.
However, unaware of the rules, many motorists traveling to Gujarat and Rajasthan, after traveling hundreds of kilometres till the border, were turned away by the Gujarat Police.
A police officer on duty at the border said on Thursday, “Motorists are trying all tricks in the book to persuade me to allow them to pass. I feel very bad to turn them away but we have no choice. Since morning, I have sent back over 200 motorists.”
Memichand Jahangid, a businessman from Rajasthan dealing in furniture, said: “We have to go to Rajashan for a religious function. So, we took the antigen test today morning. We did not undergo RT-PCR tests as it would take a day for the report to come and from Friday 8 pm, the weekend complete lockdown will begin in Maharashtra.”
“We have to be in Rajasthan on Sunday. I showed the police officer the RT-PCR test reports conducted seven days ago but he said the reports can’t be older than 72 hours. Nine of us have come all the way from Pune in two cars.”
Abhishek Khandelwal, who was returning to his home in Rajasthan after a week’s trip to Goa, said: “I had no idea about this. I will have to stay back a couple of days to get tested now.”
The ones who have undegone RT-PCR tests also have to wait in a bee line for hours as the reports of each and every traveller is being checked. The Gujarat government has erected temporary sheds at the border for officials from municipality, collector’s office and police for the purpose.
Bus driver Hanif Khan, a resident of Rajasthan, said: “Our bus is going to Jodhpur with 30 passengers. We have been waiting for 90 minutes. We had asked all passengers to get their test results but the verification process is taking time due to the long queue.”
A Gujarat government official said, “At night, there is a lot of rush and the traffic increases. In the afternoon, motorists have to wait for less than 15 minutes but as the traffic increases, the waiting period increases too.”