Even as Tamil Nadu made RT-PCR negative report mandatory for passengers coming from Kerala from Thursday, no health or revenue team was present at Madurai railway junction to check inbound passengers.
Health Minister Ma. Subramanian had recently announced that it was mandatory for passengers coming from Kerala to produce the RT-PCR negative report as COVID-19 cases were on the rise there. “No team is present in Dindigul, Madurai, Virudhunagar and Sattur railway stations,” said a railway official.
With inter-State buses not being operated, trains and flights are the main modes of transport between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Six interstate express trains are being operated between the two States. “Passengers from Kerala come to Madurai right from early morning with the arrival of Punalur Express. It is followed by Guruvayur Express (forenoon), Amirtha Express, Intercity Express, Kollam-Chennai Express (till evening) and Ananthapuri Express which comes late in the night,” the railway official said.
Though the patronage by passengers is not high, the officials cannot take chances as even one or two COVID-infected passengers arriving at the railway stations in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu can neutralise all the efforts taken by the government in containing the infection.
The district administrations have barred entry of devotees into places of worship. In Madurai, the flower market has been shifted to a spacious ground, and retail sale has been banned in vegetable and fruit markets.
However, when Guruvayur Express arrived at Madurai junction on Thursday, no passenger was intercepted by any team to check RT-PCR certificates. “Neither screening of passengers was done today,” said a railway official.
City Health Officer P. Kumaragurubaran said that teams had already been posted for screening railway passengers. “We will ensure that they screen every interstate passenger from Friday morning,” he added.
A health official in Virudhunagar said teams would be deployed in Virudhunagar station on Friday. to verify RT-PCR reports. “If the passengers were not in possession of the certificates, swab samples will be lifted on the spot and their personal details along with phone numbers and their places of visit/stay will be recorded,” the official added.