With COVID-19 case count increasing in Kerala and the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) crossing 17%, the Tamil Nadu government has closed the by-roads connecting to its neighbouring state. In response, Kerala Chief Secretary VP Joy wrote a letter to his Tamil Nadu counterpart to keep the by-roads open and said that shutting it down creates problems for the people.
The by-roads have been shut with only a main road open at Kaliyakkavilai, the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu (in the southern most part of the states). The letter stated that shutting off by-roads between Kerala and Tamil Nadu would affect the mobility of people living in both states, as several of their relatives and friends live across the border. Sources from the Kerala Chief Secretaryâ€™s office state that there has been no response to the letter from Tamil Naduâ€™s side so far.
Tamil Naduâ€™s stance is to get people to take the main road at Kaliyakkavilai check post and allow them into the state after checking their e-pass and doing a swab test at the border. The border by-roads which are closed include Market Road, Panangala Road, Kaduva Kuzhi Road, Vanniyakode Road, Puliyoorsalai Cooperative Road, Manaladi, Ramavarmanchira, Undancode Roads, Kacherinada, Fathimapuram and Punnamookal Roads, closed down by the Tamil Nadu police and revenue authorities.
Thankayyan, a local egg trader at Kaliyakkavilai border said, "The Tamil Nadu revenue and police officials have unilaterally shut the roads, causing much inconvenience to the people of Kerala as well as the local people of Tamil Nadu. We have relatives and friends across the border and also for the people of Tamil Nadu, there are relatives and friends on this side. We are expecting a positive response from Tamil Nadu to the Kerala Chief Secretary's letter."
The roads have been blocked by filling in soil, making it difficult for the people to cross. Police barricades have also been set up at the borders and movement is completely curtailed.
A senior police official at Kaliyakkavilai told IANS, "We are expecting a government order to open a few roads at least, as we understand that Tamil Nadu government will bring out an order following the request from the Kerala Chief Secretary."
People from the border areas of Parassala are depending on Tamil Nadu markets for their vegetables, fish and chicken and this again is creating problems for the local people.