A decision by Kasaragod District Collector Sajith Babu to only allow people who carry a COVID-19 negative certificate or those who have taken two shots of the vaccination into major town and market areas of the district has invited huge criticism. Indian Union of Muslim League, Congress, their youth and student unions and the All India Youth Federation has protested against the new regulation, which is supposed to be implemented from April 24.
Following a huge protest, the state revenue minister E Chandrasekharan, who is also the MLA from Kanjangad in Kasaragod, has reportedly intervened in the issue. Congress leaders who have opposed the decision say that the Collector has promised them to withdraw the order.
Kasaragod District Disaster Management Authority chaired by the District Collector, had last week decided to make either COVID-19 negative certificate which is not older than 14 days or a certificate of completion of vaccination mandatory to enter the town areas in Kasaragod, Kanjangad, Neeleswaram, Cheruvathoor, Uppala and Kumbala.
The Collector also informed that COVID-19 testing centers and vaccination spots would be arranged in these areas, and police will keep a tab here.
Later, following huge objections, he had extended the date of implementation to April 24.
Kasaragod legislator and IUML leader NA Nellikkunnu told TNM that that it was a wrong decision taken by the Collector using his power.
"Kasaragod is not a different state. The Collector took a decision which has not been taken by any of the other 13 districts of Kerala. He being in the position cannot do whatever he feels like. People will follow all the protocol here, but in the name of COVID-19 they can't be tortured. We won't allow them to implement any restriction here which is not present in other districts," the MLA said.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee secretary K Neelakantan from Kasaragod said that they had expressed strong discontent, following which the Revenue Minister's office intervened.
"That was an impractical regulation. We have been expressing our strong objection. Collector has promised to withdraw the order," he said.
The CPI(M) too has expressed its objections to the Collector's order. "That was not a thoughtful decision and isn't practical either. Everyone cannot spend money and get test certificates, vaccinations are also not open for all. But the decision will be changed," a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader from Kasaragod told TNM.