Amid rising cases in neighbouring Kerala, authorities in Karnataka have decided to close 13 points of entry located in Wayanad and Kasaragod district. According to travellers, Karnataka is insisting on negative RT-PCR test results. While Kerala has called the move unwarranted, Karnakata authorities say it is a necessary one.
This has come as a jolt for Kerala residents living in these border areas as the open borders were helpeful in moving freely for various needs. People, especially the farming and student community, regularly move from Kerala to engage in activities on the lands they either own or have taken on lease in Karnataka. According to local reports, the COVID-19 test results should not be more than 15 days old.
NA Nellikunnu, senior opposition legislator representing the Kasaragod Assembly constituency, said this is an unwarranted action by the Karnataka authorities and a violation of the unlock guidelines of the Union government. As of date, there are around 58,000 active COVID-19 cases in Kerala.
"We are given to understand that their authorities are now insisting on the RT-PCR test results from all those travelling from Kerala and entering Karnataka. I fail to understand the logic, while people in Kerala strictly follow COVID-19 protocols and wear masks, no such thing is happening in Karnataka and yet they do this unlawful act. We expect immediate intervention of the Kerala government," said Nellikunnu.
At the entry points to Karnataka in Wayanad district, people were caught unawares after their vehicles were stopped by the Karnataka authorities.
"We have no clue on this sudden decision to close the borders and the insistence on RT-PCR tests. This is going to create untold miseries for all those who used to freely cross the borders for various needs," said angry Wayanad residents, who were unable to move freely.
Playing down the incident, Kerala BJP state president Surendran said this might be an act done by Karnataka authorities as a measure of caution as COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise in Kerala. The Congress and IUML, meanwhile, are staging protests at the borders.
Watch: Protests at Kasaragod border
Protest led by Iuml in kasargod border against Karnataka authorities for making rt-pcr negative report mandatory for incoming travellers from Kerala pic.twitter.com/zwPmNbOWyHâ€” Soumya Chatterjee (@Csoumya21) February 22, 2021