Three districts in Tamil Nadu including Chennai, Theni and Madurai are under complete lockdown as of Wednesday to contain the spread of coronavirus infection. Parts of Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts are also under complete lockdown since the cases are increasing on a regular basis. For people travelling within the three districts and parts of Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram, the use of ePass has been made mandatory.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday further announced that inter-district transportation in other parts of Tamil Nadu will also stand suspended and the movement of people within the zones will not be permitted till June 30. The state was earlier divided into 8 zones allowing the passengers to travel to all the districts mentioned within the zone without an E-pass. However, now people in other districts can ply without an E-pass only within the district and they should obtain an E-pass for travelling to other districts.
Travel rules for Chennai and neighbouring districts
In the three districts under the blanket ban, only travel for medical emergencies and essential services are allowed. The people travelling for marriages and deaths should apply and receive the ePass before commencing on their journey. According to the TNePass website, individuals can apply for ePass for marriage, medical emergency, death of a close relative and if stranded.
> Purchasing essentials: The Tamil Nadu police told the public in Chennai to refrain from using vehicles for purchasing essentials like groceries. The police said that the people should walk and purchase essentials from shops within two kilometers of where they live or work.
> Work: For functioning of industries and micro, small and medium enterprises, the employees staying at or near the company are allowed. The employees should undergo a RT PCR test before restarting the work. The employees are not allowed to travel every day, said an order from the government.
> Returning to Chennai: All the people returning to Chennai through domestic or international airports should mandatorily carry an ePass. For people planning to travel to other districts from Chennai airport, the passengers should mention their final destination in the ePass.
The Chennai police have slapped 8,105 cases on people violating the lockdown order by travelling without an ePass.
Guidelines for other districts
The guidelines however differ for people of other districts. After a meeting with the district collectors, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that the zone system will stay cancelled for the next five days.
In a press meet, the Chief Minister said that the government has decided to cancel the zone system since the contract tracing of people coming from other districts without an E-pass have proven difficult for officials. Based on the recommendation of the collectors, the government has decided to cancel the zone based travel and instead allow travel without E-pass within the district alone.
The people who want to commute from other districts for medical emergencies or essential services should mandatorily get an E-pass.
You can apply for an E-pass here.