After sealing borders, Odisha intensifies coastal surveillance

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 24 (PTI) After sealing its borders with Chhattisgarh and West Bengal in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases during the second wave of the pandemic, the Odisha government Saturday tightened surveillance along its coast apprehending possible influx of people into Odisha though water route.

Personnel of all the 18 marine police stations across the state has been instructed to ensure that no one from other states can enter Odisha without proper verification of COVID- 19 documents, Additional DG (coastal security) P B Acharya said.

The marine police stations have been provided with additional home guards to keep a vigil on people trying to enter Odisha through the waterways.

Sagar Rakshya Dal, a team of volunteers, mostly hailing from the community of local fishermen, has been alerted regarding migration through the sea route, Acharya said.

Last year, amid a country-wide lockdown, several migrant workers had returned to Odisha from states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and West Bengal using the sea route.

Many people, mostly residents of coastal areas, use the water route to reach the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, and Ganjam.

Apprehending a repeat of a similar situation, checking has been intensified in coastal areas.

Travellers coming from other states will have to produce an RT-PCR negative report, which must be done within the last 48 hours, or show their complete vaccination certificates to get an entry into the state.

People who arrived from West Bengal were asked to undergo institutional or paid quarantine for 14 days in case they failed to produce the requisite documents.

Even those who could furnish the documents would have to remain in home quarantine for seven days, according to a fresh order issued by the Special Relief Commissioners office.

While the Odisha government sealed all roads to West Bengal on Friday, it had earlier sealed the border with Chhattisgarh after a surge of COVID-19 cases in that state.

Apart from the railway stations, the police have also tightened enforcement in the holy town of Puri as a large number of pilgrims from West Bengal visit the Jagannath Dham.