Hyderabad: With another lockdown looming over Hyderabad, hundreds of people were heading to their native places in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
Fearing that they may be stuck in the city if the lockdown was re-imposed, workers and businessmen were returning to be with their near and dear ones.
Migrants leaving Hyderabad
Using whatever mode of transport available to them, the migrants were leaving Hyderabad, which is witnessing a big spike in Covid-19 cases.
Majority of those returning home were daily wagers, construction labourers, domestic help and traders. Most of them had returned to Hyderabad after easing of lockdown in May.
Though there is still no official word on re-imposing lockdown in Hyderabad, the reports that the state cabinet would soon take a decision on lockdown triggered fears among the migrants.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has already hinted that this time the lockdown will be strict with only two-hour relaxation for people to buy essentials. Health Minister E. Rajender has gone on record that the health experts suggested a 15-day lockdown in Greater Hyderabad to contain the spurt in coronavirus cases.
Checkposts at Garikapadu in Krishna district, Pondugala in Guntur, Jeelugumilli in West Godavari and Panchalingala in Kurnool district were witnessing traffic snarls as migrants were returning to Andhra Pradesh with their families.
People were waiting in long queues for verification of the documents by the authorities. Only those who obtained permission from Andhra Pradesh authorities were being allowed. The officials were checking ‘Spandana’ e-pass, Aadhar and other documents and registering their residential addresses. Those without e-pass and other documents were being turned away.
Thermal screening at checkposts
The officials at the checkposts are also conducting thermal screening of all people and taking swab collections of those with suspected symptoms of Covid-19. They are also stamping ‘home quarantine’ mark on the hands of those with suspected symptoms. Some people without e-passes were seen pleading with authorities to allow them and even showed their willingness to be under quarantine at government-run centres.
Even those with all the documents are being allowed entry only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Some people are spending the night in their vehicles at the toll gates.
Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Gautam Sawang has appealed to people not to come to the checkposts without obtaining e-pass through state government’s portal ‘Spandana’ to avoid inconvenience.
Officials at the inter-state checkposts said the number of people crossing into Andhra Pradesh had almost doubled during the last four-five days.
The number of vehicles at Garikapadu checkpost, for instance, has doubled to 600 daily vehicles during the last few days. Officials say over 1,100 people are entering Andhra Pradesh through this checkpoint every day. A week ago, this number was around 700.
At Pondugula, about 1,500 vehicles from Telangana are entering Andhra Pradesh every day. The number of people crossing the border into Andhra has increased to 4,000 against 2-500-3,000 a week ago.
At Panthangi toll plaza on Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway, the number of daily vehicles heading towards Andhra has gone up to 25,000 from about 15,000 a few days ago.