PALAKKAD/ KASARAGOD/ KALPETTA: After a long wait stretching several weeks, it was finally a day of relief for several hundred Malayalis — most of them students, some elderly and sick persons — stranded in other parts of the country. They entered the state through the various check-posts situated along the inter-state border with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
However, several thousands who wished to return home could not enter after they were unable to register themselves with the Covid Jagratha website and as a result failed to get the road passes on Monday, the first day after the state’s borders were opened. “There were some issues on the Tamil Nadu website. Though around 3,000 persons were expected to cross over from Walayar, only about 700 entered the state finally,” said an official at Walayar.
Arrangements were made at six checkposts in the state to allow the entry of stranded Keralites viaManjeshwar in Kasaragod, Muthanga in Wayanad, Walayar in Palakkad, Kumily in Idukki, Aryankavu in Kollam and Inchivila in Thiruvananthapuram. Those registered with NORKA-Roots and having obtained passes will be let in from 7am to 4pm.
People with Covid symptoms were sent directly to the Covid care centres nearby while others were required to remain in-home quarantine. At Muthanga, two persons were sent to the isolation ward of the Covid care centre while three persons have been put under observation at Walayar after they displayed virus symptoms. Not one person from Manjeshwar was identified with Covid symptoms.
It was not a smooth affair on the first day with several glitches resulting in the passengers getting stuck at the check-post for several hours. “We are aware of many vehicles being held up. This is because not all the occupants in the vehicles possessed passes. We have allowed those persons who have reached Walayar in vehicles to accompany members of their family after they registered themselves with the Covid Jagratha site from here. However, those who were unable to do so have been detained here,” said N Santhosh Kumar, tahsildar, who is the executive magistrate in charge of Walayar.
At Talapady in Kasaragod, 60 help desks were set up to receive Malayalis coming in from other states. Deputy Collector A K Ramendran said around 600 government employees —teachers, revenue officials, health officials, doctors, police, fire and rescue personnel — were deployed round-the-clock to attend to the travellers.
Wayanad Collector Adeela Abdulla said the administration expects more people to cross the border on Tuesday. Those who came via Muthanga include differently-abled kids and their parents who had gone to All India Institute of Speech and Hearing in Mysuru.