The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday decided to allow the inter-State movement of workers and executives engaged in industrial and other economic activities in neighbouring States without insisting on COVID-19 testing and quarantine, provided they return to their respective areas within 48 hours.
Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam informed the District Collectors about the decision. “However, any movement to or from containment zones may remain prohibited, and this has to be done with the mutual consent of both district administrations (the district from where the workers are sent and the receiving district),” he said. The Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency will arrange for e-passes for such persons.
A senior official told The Hindu that the decision was primarily aimed at helping workers and business people residing in districts sharing borders with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry to travel to their workplaces in those regions.
“Until now, the inter-State borders have remained sealed for such people, and they haven’t been able to travel for work or business. With this decision, they will be able to go about their business,” he said. However, the relaxation will not apply to areas where a ‘complete lockdown’ will be in force from June 19 to 30, he clarified.
When asked about the e-passes that had been granted to applicants who were planning or were scheduled to leave Chennai or neighbouring districts on dates that fall within the lockdown period, he said, “Those passes will be suspended. However, if it is a serious medical case, we will allow the applicant to pass through.”
Meanwhile, the State has witnessed an increase in the number of containment zones this week. There were 300-odd containment zones last week, down from over 1,100 on May 22. The figure went up to 503 in 15 districts, as of June 12. There were 360 containment zones in Chennai, 44 in Cuddalore, 25 in Tiruvannamalai and 13 in Nagapattinam.
The other districts having containment zones are: Kancheepuram (12), Tirupattur (12), Chengalpattu (10), Tirunelveli (seven), Salem (five), Kallakurichi (three), Ramanathapuram (three), Tenkasi (three), Ranipet (two), Thanjavur (two) and Thoothukudi (two).