Kasaragod officials clarified that sand barricades were placed to prevent unauthorised vehicle entry into Kerala.

Not tit for tat Kasaragod officials deny border with Karnataka sealed KARNATAKA BORDER IN DELAMPADY, PHOTO : ABDU SWAMADH UA
news Controversy Thursday, July 02, 2020 - 12:48

The sand barricades returned to the Kerala-Karnataka border on Tuesday. But this time, it was Kasaragod district officials that had placed the road blocks after 44 new COVID-19 cases were reported from Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada. However, officials in Kerala denied that the measure was in response to the rising COVID-19 cases in the neighbouring state or that the border was sealed. They said that the roadblock was put in place to prevent the inflow of persons without a valid pass into Kerala.

Dakshina Kannada has reported a total of 825 positive patients, with 408 active cases as of Wednesday. Kerala’s Kasaragod district has recorded 461 COVID-19 cases overall, with 128 presently active.

Some sections of the media reported the developments as a tit for tat move by Kerala, in response to the earlier blockade by the Dakshina Kannada officials.

Speaking to TNM, the Kasaragod district police Chief Shilpa Dyavaiah said there was no effort to block ambulances from traversing between the states. "Some portion of the sand was removed to let ambulances move between the states, these routes were being used by vehicles without passes. We have not sealed the borders as some media reports claim. We have only replaced the sand which was removed to let ambulances pass,” the officer clarified while also adding that such reports are being circulated to create animosity between the two states, “There is no tit for tat, we have very good relations with the Dakshina Kannada district officials,” she added.

At present vehicle movement between the two states is mostly routed through check posts at Talapady. The Kasaragod district administration refilled sand first placed by Dakshina Karnataka officials. Sand barricades have been placed on 20 roads in Maneshwar leading to Karnataka, four roads in Adhur and three roads in Badiadka and two roads in Rajapuram, said the officer.

The district collector for Kasaragod D Saith Babu also told TNM that no roads have been sealed between the two states, “It was misreported that the state border has been blocked, there is nothing like that,” the official clarified. A 60-year-old Manjeshwaram resident died and a pregnant woman gave birth to a child on the roadside after their ambulances were turned away by officials in Karnataka.

The move comes three months after Karnataka had closed the border in March for vehicles from Kerala in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in Kasaragod. Karnataka’s blockade cut access for residents in Kasaragod and Kannur who were dependent on hospitals in Mangaluru for treatment.

Kerala approached the Kerala High Court over the blockade, which directed the Centre to intervene in the matter and ordered Karnataka to open up the border. While Karnataka challenged the order in the Supreme Court, the issue was resolved following talks between the two state chief secretaries.

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