KOCHI: The massive Covid spread and ongoing lockdown have stretched the state police to the limits, and with around 1,250 personnel contracting the virus, authorities have been struggling to manage the situation. Meanwhile, the portal for issuing e-pass for emergency travel has been flooded with applications and officers have a hard time sifting through the flood of applications to identify the genuine ones.
Most of the applicants cited flimsy reasons to circumvent the travel restrictions. The reasons cited range from the bizzare to plain absurd --while one of the applicants sought the e-pass which will enable him to gather ladies’ fingers from his farm, a second person wanted one for his friend who was to dig a well, while another one needed the pass for collecting cricket bats left behind at a sports stadium.
“Nearly 90 per cent of the e-pass requests is not genuine. We are facing a health emergency and the public should cooperate with us to bring the situation under control, “ said P K Sivankutty, ACP Special Branch, who is heading the e-pass system of City police.
Of the 12,000 applications for e-pass received by the City police on Tuesday, a mere 550 got the nod. “Some of them wanted to go out to get vegetables. We got numerous requests for medical purposes, but over 90 per cent of the requests was not genuine. Some of them are submitting the application without a second thought. It is posing a major headache for us. If we allow the e-pass to everyone, the roads will be chock-a-block,” he added.
Meanwhile, a police officer based in Thiruvananthapuram said that they received a request to collect cricket bats left behind at a playground. “As per police statistics, 3,79,618 people have applied for the online pass so far. But only 44,902 people received the pass and 2,89,178 applications were rejected for citing flimsy reasons” said the officer.
Total applications: 3,79,618
Under review: 45,538