Madurai

People fortify villages due to COVID-19 outbreak

A barricade placed on the road leading to Chokkampatti by villagers.

A barricade placed on the road leading to Chokkampatti by villagers.  

They say reports of the pandemic sweep forced them to take the measure

People of a number of villages in Melur taluk have blocked main roads with thorny shrubs to prevent entry of outsiders in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

These barricaded could be found in villages like K. Kallampatti, Kachirayampatti, Boothamangalam, Attapatti and Malampatti, say people from these villages.

G. Purushottaman, Panchayat Union Councillor, K. Kallampatti, says in Kallampatti and Kachirayampatti, barricades were placed to ensure that the villagers are not affected. “We are hearing of a number of COVID-19 positive cases in Melur. So, we have taken this measure,” he says.

B. Stalin, a resident of Melur, says when he went to fill petrol at a bunk near Chokkampatti, he saw construction debris and thorns used as a barricade.

K. Abbas of Boothamangalam says although rigid steps were initially taken and villagers were prevented from leaving their houses unless on absolute necessity, the norms have now been slightly relaxed.

Mr. Purushottaman says many people from Melur and nearby villages who had been placed under home quarantine or had travel history often went to nearby villages to live with their relatives. Hence, the barricades were set up at many villages.

“Most of us have been living in villages all our lives. Several WhatsApp forwards tell us that COVID-19 has caused a lot of deaths across the world. Madurai too has not been spared so we are taking precautions,” he says.

But, several people walking and cycling into the villages at night could not see the shrubs and suffered cuts and bruises, Mr. Purushottaman says. “We have now created enough space to allow two-wheelers to pass,” he adds.

The barricades can be removed and replaced at Attapatti, says A. Ganesan, a resident. “But the village elders are completely against this idea. Entry must not be forcefully restricted. We are organising talks with the youth to ensure its removal,” he says.

All these residents say health workers have not visited their villages in recent times. “In case some people from outside want to visit the villages, they can wash their hands and feet in the water mixed with turmeric and neem leaves that we have kept in several buckets,” Mr. Purushottaman says.

Collector T.G. Vinay says no such restriction has been imposed by the district administration. “However, if people deem it necessary and do not discriminate on entry and exit, then it is fine,” he says, adding no complaints have been recorded by police and revenue officials in this regard.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 7:17:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/people-fortify-villages-due-to-covid-19-outbreak-madurai/article31273171.ece

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