Over a 1000 people, including students and women,who set off from Hyderabad, the capital of neighbouring Telangana, to various districts in Andhra Pradesh were stranded since Wednesday afternoon at the Garikapadu check-post on the inter-state border as the police refused to allow them passage as the 21-day nationwide lockdown order kicked in.
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 said since the lockdown was in force and the inter-state borders have been sealed, no vehicle or person could be allowed into the state.
However, the passengers had set off from Hyderabad in cabs after obtaining special travel permits from the local police.
After a smooth ride up to Garikapadu, the border between the two states, the vehicles were stopped around 3.30 pm, leaving the passengers stranded.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed as panic-stricken people huddled in a group as they awaited some intervention from the higher-ups to end the impasse. The passengers are facing much hardship as there was no water or food in the vicinity.
“We are a group of students and have been asked to vacate our hostels. The Hyderabad police gave us special travel permit to return to our native place and accordingly we hired a cab and started our journey this morning. We were blocked at this place as the AP police are unwilling to let us in,” a student said.
Another person said he was travelling with his wife, who was nine months pregnant, after a medical check-up in Hyderabad.
“Despite our situation, the police are not willing to let us travel to our destination,” he said.
The local MLA arrived on the scene on Wednesday night and took up the stranded passengers’ case with the police but to no avail.
“Those who were going to Guntur from Hyderabad were allowed via Piduguralla but here they blocked everything. There is a clear lack of coordination between the officials of the two states,” Udayabhanu said.
He said the passengers could be permitted to journey further after conducting the required thermal screening tests.
The Andhra Pradesh government or the police were yet to take a decision on the stranded passengers when reports last came in on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, migrants labourers are bearing the brunt of the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to combat COVID-19 coronavirus.
Following the lockdown, labourers are being forced to leave their places of work and walk long distances to reach their homes.
This group, like many others, is braving the police wrath on the way, but there is no alternative for them.
The labourers are aware of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to stay wherever they are during the lockdown period, but say that they have no option.
The UP police ‘rescued’ 16 youths who were walking from Varanasi to Samastipur along the railway tracks.
The youths were forced to take the long walk home after the lockdown was imposed and could not find any means of transport for their journey.
They were working in Calicut in Kerala and had managed to reach Jhansi by train just before the railways shut down services.