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Kerala CM Pinarayi seeks PM Modi’s intervention in imbroglio

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/KASARAGOD/WAYANAD: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in lifting the blockade of the interstate border roads enforced by Karnataka. The blockade has affected the movement of vehicles carrying essential commodities, said the chief minister in a letter sent to the prime minister.

He criticised the Karnataka police for closing the Thalassery-Coorg state highway 30 as it resulted in undue hardships during the critical time. The alternative route via Gundlupet was also closed during the night when most goods vehicles ply. The letter pointed out that obstruction of an ambulance carrying a critical patient to Mangaluru on the border near Thalappady resulted in the death of the patient. Karnataka had closed the border roads fearing the Covid-19 cases reported in the border districts in Kerala.Pinarayi explained the stand taken by the state government to prevent the spread which includes putting a large number of people in isolation and observation. The letter was written after the efforts by the state government to reach out to the Karnataka government did not yield results.

The Karnataka police have dumped mud on five roads, and blocked six other roads, preventing even the passage of commercial vehicles. The blockade has caused a near humanitarian crisis in Kasaragod. At Thalapady on NH 66 — connecting Panvel and Kanyakumari — Karnataka police block even ambulances from Kasaragod. The people of Kasaragod depend on Mangaluru for tertiary healthcare. Two patients lost their lives after their ambulances were sent back, and one woman was forced to give birth in an ambulance.

Special pass to vehicles

Meanwhile, in an attempt to end the impasse over border blockade, Wayanad district administration has decided to open joint counters of health and motor vehicles departments at the border village offices to issue special out-pass to vehicles carrying essential commodities. Vehicle plying to Karnataka can get the pass at the counter at Noolpuzha village office, while vehicles to Tamil Nadu can get the same from Kalpetta village office. Driver and the assistant will be allowed to travel only after they undergo Covid-19 screening. Vehicles have to be sanitised before every exit and entry. Vehicles from other districts passing through the district should produce travelling pass issued by the respective village offices. Collector Dr Adeela Abdulla said driver and the assistant should also produce their identity card and two photographs at the counter.

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