Hundreds of people stranded at Andhra-Telangana borders

South India
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AMARAVATI: Hundreds of people were left stranded at various checkpoints on the Andhra Pradesh- Telangana borders since Wednesday night as authorities refused to let them into the state. 

 

It all began since late Wednesday evening when people started reaching the border checkpoint at Garikapadu on the National Highway-64.

The authorities refused to let them into the state in view of the coronavirus lockdown, exposing the communication gap and lack of coordination between the authorities of the two States.

After frantic SOS calls by the stranded persons, including pregnant women and children, AP authorities finally agreed to let them in, on the condition that they be shifted to a quarantine facility.

While those who accepted the government directive were allowed in, others were left at the border points.

The AP government said in a release on Thursday morning that 44 people who came from Hyderabad were shifted to a quarantine facility at Nuzividu. While some others went back to Hyderabad, over 200 persons who refused to move into quarantine were also being sent back.

"Only those persons with a 'clean certificate' for valid medical reasons are being permitted to enter into the state. Others will not be allowed under any circumstances," the release added.

They carried a special travel permit issued by police authorities in Hyderabad after student hostels and paying guest facilities were abruptly shut down.

The stranded passengers faced severe hardship as there was no water or food in the vicinity. Also, the panic-stricken passengers were huddled in a group as they awaited some intervention from the higher-ups to end the impasse.

Intervention of the local MLA and Government Whip Samineni Udayabhanu did not help as he blamed lack of coordination between the two states authorities for the situation.

Local Deputy Superintendent of Police Ramana Murthy maintained that since the lockdown was in force and the inter-state borders have been sealed, no vehicle or person could be allowed into the state.

Vijayawada Sub-Collector H M Dhyanachandra visited the spot and said the passengers would be moved to a quarantine facility at Nuzividu, some 40-km away, for isolation and medical examination.

Over 600 people, including a few women and children, set off from Hyderabad in cabs after obtaining special travel permits from the local police. After a smooth ride up to Garikapadu, the borderline between the two states, the vehicles were stopped at around 3.30 pm, leaving the passengers stranded.

On Thursday, Guntur district Joint Collector Dinesh Kumar said medical teams were being sent to the border checkpoints to screen the passengers.

The country is now in its second day of a 21-day lockdown.

In a televised address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi said that it is vital to break the chain of the disease and experts have said that at least 21 days are needed for it. Social distancing is the only option to deal with the disease.

The Prime Minister said the lockdown has drawn a "Lakshman Rekha" in every home and people should stay indoors for their own protection and for that of their families.

Those shops which are catering to essential services will continue doing so during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

 

With inputs from PTI

Image credit: News Minute

 

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