After a sudden spurt in COVID-19 cases, Chamarajanagar, which enjoyed the status of the State’s only “green” district for a long time, has decided to close two of its inter-State checkposts across Karnataka’s border with Tamil Nadu and bar entry of visitors to its tourist destinations.
Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajanagar M.R. Ravi said the district administration had decided to close down the inter-State checkposts at Naalroad and Palar from Thursday.
The remaining four inter-State checkposts, including the three across Tamil Nadu border viz. Punajanur (Satyamangalam gate), Chikkahole (Talawadi), and Bandipur besides the one across Kerala border – Moolehole (Sulthan Batheri checkpost) will, however, remain open and inter-State travellers will be permitted to cross them as per the existing conditions that include mandatory registration on Seva Sindhu portal.
Mr. Ravi attributed the closure of Naalroad and Palar checkposts to increasing number of COVID-19 cases reported on the other side of the inter-State border.
Also, all the places of tourist interest in the district, including the Bandipur National Park, BRT Wildlife sanctuary, BRT wildlife sanctuary, Bharachukki waterfalls in Shivanasamudram and Gopalaswami Betta among others, will remain out of bounds for visitors from Thursday.
The southern-most district in Karnataka, Chamarajanagar, despite sharing a border with Tamil Nadu and Kerala, maintained a clean slate with no cases of COVID-19 for a long time till the first positive case was reported three weeks ago on June 9. But, the numbers have gradually increased since then and have reached 54 after a sudden spurt on Wednesday when 21 cases were recorded.
Attributing a majority of the cases to inter-State and inter-district travel, Mr. Ravi said the district administration has not only revived all the inter-district checkposts, where people will be denied permission to pass without a strong genuine reason, but has also decided to make three days of facility quarantine compulsory for Chamarajanagar residents particularly drivers of vehicles and merchants involved in inter-State goods transport returning from a visit to Tamil Nadu or Kerala.
The other precautionary measures taken by the district administration include imposition of prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC across the district from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day in a bid to prevent unnecessary movement of people.