CHENNAI: Amid speculation that the lockdown is likely to be extended, the Tamil Nadu government’s decision not to allow inter-district transport has left hundreds of people stranded across the state. Unlike last year's lockdown, those who want to return to their native places are not allowed to travel across districts.
On Tuesday, a large number of people who arrived from neighbouring districts were denied entry into Chennai at the police check posts. Since Monday, it was mandated that people have to register on the website for such trips. But inter-district travel is allowed only for three reasons: medical emergencies, elderly care and death and funeral rituals.
On Tuesday morning, the state government briefly included weddings as a reason for inter-district travel in the online registration portal (https://eregister.tnega.org). However, the provision was disabled within a few minutes. A senior government official said, “Too many travel requests were received in the span of 15 minutes for weddings. Hence the option was disabled. After consultation with the health department, the government will make a decision allowing transportation for stranded people and for weddings."
Besides those who wish to return to their native places, many essential service staff were also not allowed into Chennai without e-registration. Serpentine queues were witnessed at the police check
posts in Vandalur, Chengalpattu and Sevvapettai. Many who arrived by car and two wheelers were sent back by police citing lockdown restrictions.
Similarly, people who stayed in Chennai and wish to return to their native place are also not able to travel.
S Krishnan, a resident of Korattur, was denied entry into the city at Sevvapettai check post on Tiruvallur – Chennai NH. He said his mother stayed at his sister’s house in Thiruvalankadu (in Tiruvallur district) for a month. “Since last week I too stayed at my sister’s house. On Tuesday, we were not allowed to enter into the city by car. Suburban train services are also not available."
Similarly, 22-year-old Archana, a native of Gingee in Villupuram district, who recently got a job at a private bank in Chennai said she was unable to return to her native place although her new job training got postponed.
“After many of my colleagues tested positive, my training was postponed for 45 days. Now I am unable to go back to my native place and it is not clear how long the lockdown will continue," she said.