Tamil Nadu seals border with Andhra amid coronavirus outbreak to prevent influx of people
Chennai, Apr 27: In view of the coronavirus situation, the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border roads at two key entry and exit points in Vellore district have been sealed by a concrete wall, a day after district collector had issued orders for the same.
The wall built upto a height of three-feet has been constructed at Sainagunta (near Gudiyatham) and Ponnai (Maathandakuppam) check posts on Sunday morning in order to completely stop all vehicular movement from neighbouring Chitoor district in Andhra Pradesh.
Two-wheelers coming from Andhra Pradesh which was one of the biggest challenges was also not allowed to enter Vellore through these two porous border check posts.
However, the other four border check posts in Paththalapalli, Paradarami, Christianpet, and Serkadu are kept open.
According to Vellore district collector, A Shanmuga Sundaram, ''Vehicles carrying essential commodities that ply towards Sainagunta check post will be rerouted via Paradarami check post. While vehicles that will enter Ponnai check post will be rerouted via Christianpet or Serkadu.''
Meanwhile, those who enter Vellore via Pootuthakku will be quarantined at KGN Marriage Hall near Alamelumangapuram.
Asked on the reason behind the construction of walls, Vellore District Collector A Shanmuga Sundaram said it was mainly to check unauthorised entry of people like migrant labourers, who use vehicles including buses to enter Tamil Nadu without any valid permission.
In view of the nation-wide curbs to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the governments of other States too do not allow people to travel anywhere. Some people, however, get access to vehicles and use them to get into Tamil Nadu taking advantage of crossings tucked away in very remote locations like Synagunda, he told P T I.
"Since the chances of getting detected at the main border crossing is high, some people tend to use little noticed locations in remote places," he pointed out adding the effort was aimed at preventing unauthorised entry or exit.
The district collector, to a question, said the walls were a temporary arrangement and built without damaging the roads. Asked if the move will affect usual movement of vehicles between Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, he said, "the normal traffic is not affected and the main border with Andhra Pradesh (on the Chittoor Road) is open as usual and that check post has all infrastructure to screen people."
The total number of people who have so far tested positive in the Tamil Nadu stood at 1,885.
On Saturday, 94 people were discharged following recovery while 66 tested positive, which was the third day of more people getting cured than those who had newly contracted the contagion.
On April 23, a total of 54 new cases were reported and 90 people were discharged that day and the following day, 72 tested positive and 114 got cured.
As COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Tamil Nadu, Palaniswami had on April 24 announced a complete shutdown beginning Sunday in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai for four days, disallowing grocery shops as well and fully curtailing movement of the public.
Also, Salem and Tirupur in western Tamil Nadu shall be shut similarly, albeit for three days from April 26, he said while assuring the people that mobile outlets would bring vegetables and fruits would to their doorsteps.