KASARGOD: Llliyas Thuminad runs a tiles and granite shop in Manjeshwar. But since March 23, when Karnataka locked down the borders with Kasaragod, he is a busy man. His day starts at 6 am and works till late into the night, often skipping lunch and breakfast. Illiyas’s job is to smuggle out critically ill patients from border areas of Kasaragod to hospitals in Mangaluru. On Tuesday, around 3 pm, when TNIE contacted him, he had transported 22 patients to Mangaluru.
A native of Thuminad, a border village in Manjeshwar, Illiyas knows all the secret entry points and so all politicians contact him. The Manjeshwar police too look the other way when Illiyas ferries a patient to the border in his car. In his hectic schedule, he had a moment of ecstasy around 1 pm. “I got a call.
The woman from Uttar Pradesh, I helped cross the border gave birth to a boy in the hospital,” he said. Earlier in the morning, Illiyas tried to take two siblings aged eight years and 11 years across the border through the toll gate. The siblings had come to Manjeshwar with their uncle before the lockdown and were missing their parents on the other side of the border. “When I asked the police to let them cross over, one officer said the parents can go to Kerala if they want. But no one from Kerala will be allowed in,” said Illiyas.
The stringent blockade at the border at Thalapady, which led to the denial of tertiary health care, has claimed the lives of six persons till Tuesday. Karnataka has dumped mud on 12 border roads, cutting off several wards and villages in Delampady, Vorkady and Enmakaje panchayats of Kasaragod. In Kannur, 200 trucks transporting vegetables from Karnataka were held up at Makkoottam for a day.
They were redirected to Kerala via Muthanga in Wayanad. A driver said they had to drive 121 km more to reach Kannur. In Wayanad, Karnataka has blocked the eight roads, cutting off people in Panthallur, Thaloor, Gudalur and Tholpetty from Kerala. With the blockade, residents do not have access to hospitals at Sultan Bathery and Mananthavady. In Palakkad, the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu formed a committee to ensure the smooth passage of essential goods. In Thrissur, the border at Valpparai is open only for essential goods. Thiruvananthapuram shares two border points with Tamil Nadu. The bulk of the goods come through the Amaravila check-post.
The second one is through the Poovar check-post. At present, there is restricted movement of essential commodities such as grains, vegetables, poultry and milk. People in neighbouring districts in Tamil Nadu come to Thiruvananthapuram for tertiary medical care. In Idukki, the tea plantations took a major hit as the lockdown has stopped the arrival of workers. Thousands of workers come from Tamil Nadu daily to work in the plantations. Tamil Nadu allows trucks carrying essentials goods to enter Kerala through Kumily, Cumbummettu, Bodimettu and Chinnar. Vegetables from Cumbum, Theni and Udumalpet come to Kerala from these points.
Centre flayed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that everyone at the Centre promises their support for resolving the border issue and call back, but no one has kept their word. “First, minister Sadananda Gowda promised he will look into the matter and will inform the status. Then, Home Minister Amit Shah himself called and made such a promise. But no one has given feedback. Might be the problem has not yet been solved. I am optimistic about their interventions,” he said.