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Kerala requests lifting of blockade of inbound trucks at border with Karnataka

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 28, 2020

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan   -  The Hindu

Kasaragod reports 34 new cases of coronavirus on Friday

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to lift the blockade of the Thalassery-Coorg State Highway-30 by the Karnataka police.

The blockade has stopped inter-state traffic, including those of vegetables and essential supplies, resulting in a pile-up of at least 150 fully laden trucks bound for the consumerist state of Kerala.

Infection spirals in Kasaragod

It is learnt that the Karnataka police has enforced the blockade as a preventive measure as Kasaragod, a district in Kerala, has witnessed a spike in the number of coronavirus cases. Kasaragod, shares a border with Karnataka.

The district saw an unprecedented spike in infections with 34 cases being reported on Friday, the highest for a single day yet in the State, mainly from primary contacts of two virus carriers who returned home from abroad.

 

The Chief Minister said in the letter that the Thalassery-Coorg State Highway-30 connects Kerala with Coorg in Karnataka at Veerajpettah. The route is a lifeline for flow of essential commodities into Kerala. “If this is blocked, vehicles carrying essential commodities will have to travel a much longer route to reach our state.”

Lifeline to Kerala

Given the situation of the national lockdown, this will add even more to the hardship of the people of Kerala. “You will agree with me that no action impeding the movement of essential commodities should be initiated at this moment of crisis,” the Chief Minister said.

He requested the Prime Minister to urgently intervene in this matter so that smooth flow of essential commodities resumes to Kerala, which is fighting Covid-19 on a war-footing along with the rest of the country.

The Kerala Chief Secretary is learnt to have taken up the matter with his Karnataka counterpart on Friday itself, and the latter had promised prompt action to clear the blockade on the narrow inter-state road.

The Karnataka officials had allegedly deployed earthmovers to dump loose earth and boulders on the road.

Critical phase, says CM

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 situation in Kerala reached a critical phase, the Chief Minister said, with the total number patients under observation in hospitals in Kasaragod alone touching 103.

The day also saw Kerala reporting the highest number of Covid-19 positive cases at 164, and the total number persons being kept under observation crossing the 1 lakh mark.

Another significant development was that the the entire 14 districts in the state have now been declared Covid-19-hit, with Kollam joining the list on Friday.

The Health Department authorities, however, take heart from the fact that there is no indication of a feared community spread (Stage 3 or transmission) in the state. “But we could well be on the brink,” the Chief Minister had noted during his interaction with media persons.

Published on March 28, 2020

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