MYSURU: ‘Bombay se aaya mera dost, Dost ko salam karo’ was a super hit song from the 1977 Hindi film ‘Aap ki Khatir’.
This also used to be the mood in KR Pet and Nagamangala villages all these years as relatives and friends would warm up to those who arrived from Mumbai during vacations or for festivals.
Cut to 2020. The increase in the number of positive cases from those with travel history to Mumbai is causing people in Mandya district to be wary of these ‘corona carriers’.
The count has touched 71 cases on Tuesday alone.
“We are not traitors and are not coming back here because we don’t have food or shelter back in Mumbai. We have our roots in Mandya and are rejoining our families. We went to Mumbai several decades ago and have made our life there. We have contributed to the development of Mumbai and also the economy of Karnataka and Mandya district,” say those coming from Mumbai to their native villages in Mandya district.
The fact is that of the nearly 8,000 who have returned from Mumbai to KR Pet and Nagamangala, only 160 have tested positive till date. Manje Gowda, a relator and vice-president of Mumbai Kannada Sangha, said that they are thankful to Maharashtra for giving them economic status and education to their children.
“But we have not given up our love for Karnataka and Mandya. People should extend moral support to help people come out of Covid-19 instead of blaming them,” he said. Naganna, a hotelier in Mumbai and native of KR Pet, said that those arriving from Mumbai are not treated well.
“There is no problem in Maharashtra as dhabas are serving food, people are giving free water bottles and healthcare facilities are available on the highways. The problems start once they enter Nipani in Belagavi district as the people have to stand in queue and wait for three-four hours to complete the formalities,” he said. Suresh of Kythanahalli lived in Thane for more than 10 years.
He owns hotels in Bengaluru and KR Pet. He said that many of those in quarantine blame their long wait at Nipani checkpost where thousands of people and vehicles cross the inter-state border.
They claim that this maybe the epicentre of the spread of the virus. Deputy Commissioner M V Venkatesh said that they are not worried over the rising positive cases as the district COVID hospital has 200 beds and is fully geared up to convert hostels into hospitals.
He said that they have already tested 8,000 people and will continue to test more and keep people under quarantine.