Confusion prevails over travel

Those who chose to travel by road faced hurdles at checkpoints

January 09, 2022 12:29 am | Updated 12:30 am IST - Bengaluru

Police stopping a motorist in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Police stopping a motorist in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Though intra-State and inter-State travel was allowed as per the guidelines issued by the Karnataka Government, a majority of motorists who had planned trips during the weekend either cancelled or rescheduled their plans. Those who chose to travel by road on Saturday faced many hurdles at checkpoints. Confusion reigned on the streets with police officials at every barricade interpreting the guidelines differently.

For instance, a group of four luxury cars was stopped at Town Hall on Saturday. As the police threatened to seize the vehicles, the occupants were seen trying hard to convince them that they were on their way to a marriage in Kodagu, and submitted related documents showing that marriages were indeed allowed as per the guidelines. After nearly an hour, police personnel took down the numbers of the cars and let the group go.

Prasanna Gowda, a software engineer working in the city, left for his hometown in Chikkamagaluru district on Saturday morning after his office announced work-from-home. “As the guidelines said intra-State travel was allowed, I took it at face value and left for home in my car. But it was such an ordeal. I was stopped at over 10 barricaded checkposts where the police asked me why I was going home.

They claimed that my travel was not an ‘emergency’ and they could not allow it. Some even asked for an RT-PCR test report and vaccination certificate. One police officer tried to levy a fine as I was not wearing a mask even though I was alone in my car,” he said, questioning the point of the guidelines.

Confusion at Attibele

Meanwhile, there was confusion at Attibele checkpost on the city’s outskirts - the entry point into the State from Tamil Nadu.

Many people seeking to enter Bengaluru from the neighbouring State were turned back. “We allowed only travelers who were entering the State for purposes allowed under the guidelines and not everyone. We also insisted on a negative RT-PCR test report,” said K. Vamsi Krishna, SP, Bengaluru Rural district.

Foreseeing this confusion, many people had cancelled or rescheduled their travel. “We were supposed to go to a temple in Andhra Pradesh, but cancelled the trip to avoid being harassed by cops on the road. We cannot pick an argument with them, as each police official interprets the rules differently.

We are at their mercy,” said R. Subramanian from Bengaluru.

Others rescheduled their travel plans. Raghottam and his family had a darshan booked for Sunday at Tirumala temple, which they did not wish to miss. “We were supposed to leave on Saturday, but rescheduled our travel and left Friday afternoon to cross the State border before the weekend curfew kicked in,” he said.

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