MYSURU: Tipplers from Kerala can sure hold their liquor in more ways than one. They hold the liquor bottles bought in Karnataka and race back home for the happy hour. With the prices being cheaper here, these spirited people have stopped 'wining' -- they have found the river route to sneak in and buy their daily dose from wine stores.
You can see them advancing in boats. Since the Kabini river stretch is quite long, there are several points from where they can enter the border villages quite easily. What is agitating the locals and the authorities is the fear of the risk of the spread of COVID-19. With Kerala reporting over 50 cases on Sunday alone, the people are worried as these tipplers don’t follow corona norms like social distancing.
Although the district administration has sealed the inter-state border and has deputed health and police officials round-the-clock at Bavali checkpost, the people living across the border are crossing into Karnataka wading in knee-deep water and walking along dried patches.
The Mysuru district administration, closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Wayanad district and knowing that there were three cases near the border, has cancelled boat points at DB Kuppe as hundreds from Kerala cross in boats to line up near the wine shops.
Based on a plea from the villagers, the Revenue and Excise officials have closed wine shops in DB Kuppe and Machur. There are also reports that a few are reaching out to liquor shops near Karapura. It is not just liquor that makes Keralites come here.
Foresters must step up vigil, say villagers
Somanna, a farmer, said that hundreds of people from Kerala side cross to Karnataka as many cultivate land on lease and are into ginger and banana cultivation in hundreds of acres. He said that the authorities should constitute teams to keep a vigil on those slipping from Kerala side in the wake of too many active cases there.
The crossing of the river has stopped near DB Kuppe as the river level has increased by 1 ft following rains in Wayanad district. Health officer Ravikumar said that they are educating the people near the Bavali check posts and are tracking the arrival of migrant people reaching to remote villages across the border.
The villagers charged that the forest personnel have not stepped up patrolling and are not keeping vigil on those illegally entering from Mananthawady village or fields on Karnataka side. Beechanahalli Police Station Sub Inspector Ramachandra has refuted the allegations.