Despite stringent measures tourists come unabated, proving a headache to the Police, health staff
Kushalnagar/Madikeri: In an effort to contain the number of COVID-19 cases, the Kodagu District Administration, in accordance with the State Government guidelines, has begun stringent checking at borders and all the tourists, general public and other travellers towards Mangaluru from Mysuru are being checked.
Suspect persons are being hand-stamped and their details, purpose of visit and stay nored down. Exclusive check-posts have been set up at places like Guddehosur to check the tourist flow from the Kushalnagar side. The order came after the Deputy Commissioner (DC) and Superintendent of Police (SP) notified that COVID-19 cases need to be regulated in the district.
All visitors from Kerala are being insisted on producing either COVID-negative certificate (done 72 hours prior to check-in) or vaccine completion certificate. Those who are not in possession of either of these two are subjected to on-the-spot RAT tests.
Kodagu shares its border with Kerala and the District Administration has its task cut out since many are travelling to the district at a time when concerns are expressed over the increase in Delta Plus variants in the neighbouring State.
Officials from the Health, Revenue and Police Department have been appointed at Kushalnagar, Koppa, Guddehosur, Shanivarsanthe, Shirangala, Karike, Makutta, Anechowkur, Siddapura, Kutta and Sampaje check-posts to verify the reports of all visitors coming in from Kerala and other places. Kushalnagar Inspector Mahesh and Virajpet Taluk Health Officer Yathiraj told Star of Mysore that they have been asked to carry out stringent tests at all borders. Due to this strict measure, long lines of vehicles are usually seen at the check-posts.
An exclusive check-post has been set up at Guddehosur near Kushalnagar to screen tourists arriving from Mysuru-side through Koppa Gate as Guddehosur is the single entry and exit point for all tourist vehicles coming to Kodagu from Kushalnagar.
Testing all travellers at check-posts has become a headache to the Police as many travellers say that they are proceeding to Mangaluru. “But they stay here in Kodagu. How can we monitor them? Still, their addresses are being noted down,” said a Police officer. Yesterday alone, over 20 travellers were hand-stamped at Guddehosur check-post and they have been quarantined, Police said.
Despite restrictions, however, tourists are coming to Kodagu unabated and are flooding the homestays and resorts, causing resentment among the local population. Based on complaints, a couple of homestays have been sealed and cases have been booked under Disaster Management Act. Tourists, mostly the IT crowd from Bengaluru are spotted at several places and the Police too are questioning them after stopping their vehicles in town areas. Those who have been spotted have been warned to return immediately.
On some homestays functioning despite the lockdown restrictions, Kodagu Homestays Association President B.G. Ananthashayana said that most of the homestays that are functioning now are illegal ones. “Only 250 homestays are registered in Kodagu and there are more than 1,000 homestays that do not come under the Association umbrella. Those who are registered have been advised not to open for tourists unless the Govt. permits them to do so,” he said.