KURNOOL/VIJAYAWADA: Tension prevailed at Andhra Pradesh-Telangana border in Kurnool and Krishna districts on Friday with Telangana police disallowing ambulances carrying Covid-19 patients into the neighbouring State. Family members of some Covid patients entered into an argument or pleaded with the Telangana police to let their ambulances go to Hyderabad.
A total of 60 ambulances were stopped at the toll plaza since Thursday midnight and of them, 12 were carrying Covid patients who were in various stages of severity. Unconfirmed reports claimed two Covid patients, one from Kadapa and another from Nandyal had died due to undue delay at the toll plaza. However, Kurnool police clarified they had verified the reports and no such deaths happened.
The Andhra Pradesh government impleaded in a house motion petition filed in the Telangana High Court against a circular issued by the Telangana government barring entry of ambulances from AP. Taking serious note of the issue, the Telangana High Court issued an interim stay on the circular issued by the Telangana government and adjourned the case hearing to June 17.
However, Telangana police refused to allow ambulances at the inter-state borders till 9 pm stating that they were yet to receive orders from higher officials on the High Court stay. A few ambulances with Covid patients waiting at Pullur toll plaza in the hope that the court order will force the police to reopen the border, were pushed into crisis when oxygen supply started depleting.
On knowing about the crisis, Kurnool Superintendent of Police Fakeerappa Kaginelli immediately brought oxygen cylinders from the police hospital in Kurnool and connected them to two patients, who were running out of oxygen supply. “The situation at AP-Telangana border is yet to ease. Ambulances are still detained at the border,” the SP said giving an update on the situation at 8 pm. Finally, Telangana police opened the border for ambulances at 9 pm.
Earlier in the day, despite pleas by family members of patients, Telangana police did not allow them to enter Telangana. “We are taking my husband to Hyderabad for emergency treatment. He is on ventilator support and his pulse is dropping and needs urgent medical attention. Please save him. I have requested them to allow us, but they (Telangana police) are adamant,” said a Muslim woman, pleading media to help her take her husband to Hyderabad.
The ambulance carrying her husband was at the toll plaza from 5 am. Her family members said they got a bed allotted in a private hospital in Hyderabad, but police are not listening. They are not even allowing those with bed confirmation letters from hospitals in Hyderabad, her family members said. Veera Reddy S, who was taking his father to Hyderabad for treatment, tweeted to Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao to help him as his father’s ambulance was stopped.
“My father with Covid symptoms) is waiting at the Telangana border toll gate and we have a reserved bed in Hyderabad hospital. Control room person says that no officer is available to review the request and confirm the entry. Please help me to enter Hyderabad,” he tweeted and attached a copy of the letter from the hospital.Dayakar from Warangal in Telangana returning with his father, who is a Covid patient, from Anantapur, was also not allowed. Similar incidents were witnessed at Ramapuram crossroad at AP-TS border in Krishna district. Several ambulances were stopped.
Having learnt about denial of entry to ambulances into Telangana at Pullur toll plaza, Kurnool MLA Hafeez Khan rushed to the place and requested Telangana police to allow the ambulances, but there was no response on the other side. Several ambulances had to return as the condition of patients was turning serious. The SP said four patients in serious condition were shifted to various hospitals.
Describing Telangana police disallowing ambulances from AP as improper, Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, Advisor (Public Affairs) to the State government, urged the Telangana government to take a humanitarian approach and allow the ambulances stuck at the inter-state border.
“In spite of Telangana High Court’s order, police citing technical procedures, are stopping ambulances. Family members of patients who are in a panic cannot follow those rules. All they want is to get to hospital as it is an emergency. The Telangana government should be lenient and allow them,” he said and added that the State is even contemplating approaching the Supreme Court to get the issue resolved.
He maintained that Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is in touch with the Telangana government and making efforts to get the issue resolved at the earliest. At the same time, he urged the people in the State not to go to Hyderabad without proper documentation and confirmation of beds and e-pass as it would only create trouble.
Taking serious view of Opposition criticism on the issue, he said had former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu not acted hastily in shifting the capital from Hyderabad, though the time for common capital is 10 years, the situation would not have arisen.