Odisha urges Centre to stop trains from Chhattishgarh

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 16 (PTI) Odisha government on Friday urged the Centre to stop trains to it from neighbouring Chhatisgarh for at least 15 days as at least 10 of its border districts have been impacted by the alarming COVID-19 situation in the central Indian state.

Odisha Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra in a letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, said that movement of trains from Chhatisgarh to the state needs to be halted at least for a fortnight to break the chain of infection.

The inter-state bus service from Chhatttishgarh, where the number of active cases have breached the one lakh mark, has already been suspended.

Mohapatra in his letter said that 18 special trains are operating between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

The Odisha government had earlier approached the Railway Board to stop trains from Chhattisgarh, but its request was rejected. The Railway Board had instead suggested that Odisha approach the ministry of home affairs on the matter.

Railway Board chairman Suneet Sharma in his letter on April 9 had also said that as far as the movement of trians is concerned at present, Railway operations are allowed throughout the country as per the Home Ministry guidelines dated March 23, 2021 while complying with the standard operating procedures.

Keeping in view the situation in 10 Odisha districts bordering Chhattishgarh, the state government had announced night curfew and weekend shutdowns to contain the spread of the contagion in those areas.

These districts are Sundergarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Nabarangpur, Koraput and Malkangiri.

Sundergarh district Friday reported 523 new cases followed by Nabarangpur (156), Sambalpur (153), Nuapada (140) and Bolangir (133).

There is a rise in the number of new positive cases in the districts bordering Chhattisgarh, a health department official said.

The Odisha government has made it mandatory for the people entering the state to compulsorily produce their RT-PCR reports or certificates of the two doses of COVID vaccine, he said. PTI AAM KK KK KK