VIJAYAWADA: Confusion prevails at the inter-state border checkpost on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada National Highway, as people entering Andhra Pradesh are being made to wait for hours. Though an IMASQ bus was stationed at the Jaggaiahapeta border to conduct tests for coronavirus, there was a delay in collecting samples.
Besides this, travellers entered into arguments with officials who prevented them from entering AP without valid passes, and policemen attached to the newly-formed Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) worked to curb illegal transport of liquor and sand.
As a result, there was reportedly a pile-up of vehicles, with people arriving from Telangana being made to wait for hours at the border. On Thursday night, employees of the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat reportedly had to wait more than six hours for their samples to be collected for testing.
Two more mobile testing buses needed to ease rush, says DSP
"The police even asked us to return on Friday as the staff who were to collect swabs had left," said one of the employees of the AP Secretariat. When contacted, Nandigama DSP G Ramana Murthy said, "It is the duty of health and revenue officials to collect samples. Our duty is to verify the emergency passes and prevent illegal transport of liquor from Telangana. We clearly told them to wait as the workforce in the iMASQ bus is insufficient," he said, adding that their workload is increasing as more people have been returning to AP since the lockdown norms were relaxed.
The district administration had stationed iMASQ buses at the Vijayawada airport, railway station and borders on the National Highway (Garikapadu) to collect swabs from those entering the state.
As per the protocol, swabs of people arriving from COVID-19 high-incidence states such as Rajasthan and Gujarat should be collected and they should be sent to institutional quarantine. For people arriving from Hyderabad, swab will be collected from five per cent of people.
The shortage of staff in the bus to collect swabs is leading to a pile up of traffic and subsequent commotion and confusion as people end up arguing with the officials present. "We brought the issue to the notice of the district collector. Positioning two more mobile testing buses would ease the rush. The number of people coming to the check post is increasing every day," the DSP said.