Monday 30 March 2020 1:32 AM UTC
Thiruvananthapuram March 30: Despite Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s repeated appeals to his Karnataka counterpart BS Yediyurappa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open the border between Karnataka and Kerala, it still remains closed.
Karnataka officials blocked the crucial state highway No. 30 with mounds of mud to stop movement of vehicles or people from crossing the state border amid the coronavirus lockdown.
This is route used by vehicles getting essential items to Kerala and for the people in Kasargode with medical emergencies to reach Mangaluru in Karnataka, which is the closest for people living in the border area, Mr Vijayan said.
On Saturday, there was an instance of an ambulance with a 92-year-old woman not being allowed to cross the border through the National Highway, despite the woman living in Mangaluru in Karnataka but was in Kerala’s Kasaragod to visit her family, according to officials.
Later in the night, they crossed the border in her private vehicle. After being stopped initially, were eventually allowed to cross. However, the woman died after she reached her home.
Mr Vijayan has said that he tried to speak with Mr Yediyurappa, but has not been able to get through to him over the phone.
In a letter to PM Modi, Mr Pinarayi Vijayan had written, “This route is a lifeline for flow of essential commodities to Kerala… You will naturally agree with that no action impeding the movement of essential commodities should be initiated at this moment of crisis.
I request you to intervene urgently in this when the state is fighting COVID-19 on a war footing along with fellow citizens of our country.”
Kasaragod district has reported the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in Kerala. The blockade coincides with the increasing numbers and the national lockdown being announced.
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