Kochi: Inter-state borders allowing entry of individuals from other states must be equipped with basic facilities, the Kerala High Court said on Sunday. Those stranded at the Walayar border may be permitted into the state, the HC said during an emergency sitting convened on the inter-state border issue.
However, this should not set precedence for other similar instances, the court added.
Inter-state passes are mandatory for those crossing the border, the state government informed the court. Only limited passes can be issued on a day-to-day basis.
Out of the 1.04 lakh people who applied, only 53,000 received passes. Spot registration facility is available for emergencies and regular commuters. If those without passes are allowed in the state, the precautions taken so far will be laid to waste, the state government said.
Hundreds of Keralite returnees were stuck along the state border for several hours as chaos continued to reign the check-posts on Saturday amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
People without travel documents, people who had applied but yet to be issued pass, and those who rushed to the border, fearing that the pass will be stopped, thronged the check-posts at Walayar, Muthanga and Thalappady. During this melee, people from red zones and low-risk areas all mingled.
The government had designated six entry-points for Keralites, who were stranded in other states for the past 1.5 months due to the lockdown. But this has led to a huge rush along the borders.
Without food and water at Walayar
More than 600 people turned up at the Walayar check-post in Palakkad on Saturday and were stranded between the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border. Desolate with hunger and thirst, hundreds of women and children waited at the border. Six pregnant women and elderly people also had to endure this harrowing wait under the blistering sun.
Most people had to depend on the bananas and water given by volunteers at the border. There are no washroom facilities either.
At dusk, several people took shelter on the storefronts and a vacant Tamil Nadu check-post building. Considering the safety, people were moved to the outbound training centre at Kaliyaparambu, Coimbatore, during the night.
The 3-km stretch from Kerala border to Palakkad has been declared as containment zone.
Stranded in the forest near Muthanga
Around 50 Keralites, including women and children, were stranded at the forest near the Muthanga border in Wayanad during the night. People with just Karnataka pass and had not completed the registration procedures reached till Karnataka check-post Moolaholla. But they could not go on further.
Relatives who turned up to receive the returnees also got stuck in the forest. Finally, the women and children were moved to a secure place and the men to the check-post late into the night.
People, who did not get the final confirmation from the NORKA website, got stranded at the Thalapady check-post in Kasaragod. The status of their applications showed as ‘confirmation pending’ on the NORKA website. This is because the authorities at the border districts reportedly were not giving the confirmation. Complaints were raised that the district administration was delaying the procedures to avoid the rush.
No quarantine facility?
Two people, who arrived from red zone areas, allegedly could not avail the government-run quarantine facilities in Kannur and were stranded in the town during the night. A student from Chennai, who came via Walayar, and a youth from Bengaluru, who came via Muthanga, were directed to go to a lodge from the border. However, when they reached the lodge, they were told that there were other people staying. The district administration said that the list of buildings identified for quarantine was handed over and that not all were converted to isolation facilities.