On Saturday, hours after the portal was opened, over 1 lakh people took to the portal simultaneously, making it hang.

Representative image of police personnel inspecting vehicles during lockdownImage for representation
Coronavirus COVID-19 Sunday, May 09, 2021 - 17:02

With the Kerala government making it mandatory for people to possess travel passes to commute during the lockdown that came into force on Saturday, the Kerala Police’s e-pass portal has been overflowing with requests for the same. With no means to verify the authenticity of thousands of applications, the police are in a fix.

As per the Kerala government’s lockdown guidelines imposed due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, those who need to commute will need to get the travel pass of the Kerala Police, from the e-Curfew Pass portal. On Saturday, hours after the portal was opened, over 1 lakh people took to the portal simultaneously, making it hang. Though the problem was fixed by Sunday early morning, officials managing the portal express difficulty as it is practically impossible to verify the authenticity of the requests.

As per the data till Sunday morning, over 85,000 people have applied for the e-pass across the state. While passes of 8,000 people have been approved, applications of 25,000 people were rejected after assessing the reasons. The application of the rest of the applicants are under consideration.

“It is the special branch police officers in each district who manage requests for passes. They manually consider each request and approve it based on the reasons stated. Since there are thousands of requests flooding in, it is time consuming and people might experience a delay,” said an official managing the portal.

Police also urge people to be genuine in their requests. “There are many who apply to see how things are functioning or to simply take a pass and keep. Since there is no mechanism to verify which of the requests are not genuine, it is also taking a toll,” the officer added.

Officials also stated that there is a confusion among people on who all should apply for a pass. As per the guidelines, those who need to commute to neighbourhood stores to buy essential commodities or those going to vaccination centres, need not apply for an e-pass. Such people can carry a self written affidavit in the format prescribed by the Police.

Format of affidavit

Those who need to apply for e-pass include the people who work in the essential service sector but still do not have a professional identity card; domestic workers; daily wage labourers; home nurses, etc, can apply. Those who travel to other districts or within districts for emergency situations like funerals of close kin, emergencies related with hospitals etc, can also use the e-pass services. Such people should also carry an identity card with themselves along with the e-pass.

Meanwhile, as many manage to get e-passes without genuine reasons due to issues related with first hand verification before issuing the pass, police have warned of severe action if they are caught.

“Even if such people manage to get the pass, there will be checkings on the road and once the police find that their reason is not genuine, stringent action will be taken. Their vehicles will be confiscated and will be presented to court. There will be a lot of proceedings to get back such vehicles,” the officials warn.