On Tuesday, August 24, confusion prevailed at the Goa- Karnataka border in Polem, where all of a sudden, people from Goa were denied entry into Karnataka.
According to sources, several people from both states were denied entry just outside the Polem border check post on Tuesday afternoon. People, especially those who had a medical appointment or other official work, were hampered.
Earlier that day, the Karnataka authorities were allowing people with only a Covid-19 vaccination certificate, but, suddenly in the afternoon, they informed the travellers that they would not be granted permission to enter the state without a negative RT-PCR report.
The news about people being stranded on the border made several leaders like GPCC General Secretary Janardhan Bhandari, Canacona Municipal Council Chairperson Simon Rebello, and Councillor Ramakant Naikgaunkar, and activists rush to the Polem border and confront the Karnataka authorities and police.
On the other hand, leaders from Karnataka, Karwar Assistant Commissioner Vidhyashri Chandragi along with a police inspector and other officers also arrived at the place of confrontation between the two states.
Chandragi tried to explain the implementation of the SOP by the Karnataka government while the Goan leaders tried to reason with them as to how it was a wrong move to suddenly implement new SOPs without any prior notification.
Even displaying proof of medical appointment could not grant those people access into the state without a negative RT-PCR report.
After several hours of heated discussion, the Karwar assistant commissioner finally agreed to allow people with a medical appointment. However, by that time, it was 8:30 pm, and most people already returned to Goa.
Later, Rebello, Bhandari, and Naikgaunkar demanded proper coordination between the two district authorities of South Goa and Karwar, so that people traveling from either side will not be harassed.
“We are not against SOPs and restrictions, as they are essential. However, lack of coordination, mismanagement and sudden change of SOPs have put common people into great hardships. This should be avoided,” insisted Bhandari. “Authorities from both sides must implement SOPs in a need-based manner and inform people well in advance about any change in SOPs,” he added.