A Tripura family stranded in Tamil Nadu since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown was imposed, journeyed over 3,000 km in an ambulance to return home in midst of the coronavirus outbreak. They reached Agartala city last night and were moved to an institutional quarantine centre just outside Udaipur city in Gomati district.
Speaking to reporters, Chanchal Majumder, who returned with his wife Ashima Biswas Majumder from Chennai’s Apollo Hospital, said they had to rush back for their daughter’s marriage, scheduled on May 8.
“We have our daughter’s marriage on May 8. We will have to defer it now but even then we had to return to work out the deferring with the groom’s family. Also, my wife had an operation at Apollo Hospital and it was expensive to stay at the hospital amongst other costs. So we decided to return despite the risks,” Chanchal said.
He claims that there are several families from Tripura in Chennai, many of whom are having a hard time. “There are many families of Tripura stranded there. Many of them are not getting food, they are trying to figure out some way through the crisis,” he said.
Chanchal, a retired Deputy Director of Sports and Youth Affairs Department, along with another family, had to pay Rs 1.40 lakh as conveyance charge to the hospital for the ambulance. The families started their journey on April 15 and reached Tripura after five days.
The family was in Chennai for a scheduled check-up after Ashima underwent a brain tumour surgery in September last year.
After the nationwide lockdown was extended on April 14, they decided to look for ways to return, fearing that the lockdown might be extended yet again in view of the coronavirus situation. “We booked an ambulance from the hospital itself. One more patient from Tripura was with us in the ambulance with an attendant and a relative,” Ashima said.
The ambulance was stopped at each entry and exit point of all states they crossed during their journey, where they had to produce documents from the hospital.
They were shifted to an institutional quarantine centre immediately after return. “They crossed through several states, many of which are severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. So, we have shifted them to the quarantine centre here. They did not meet their daughter or any other relative on arrival, so there is no risk for anyone else,” Gomati District Magistrate Tarun Kanti Debnath told indianexpress.com.
Two cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Tripura so far, out of which one has already recovered and was released. The other patient is under treatment at GB Panth Hospital in Agartala.
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