Ever since the Tamil Nadu government announced that the state would provide e-passes to everyone submitting Aadhaar or ration card details, more have started traveling between districts. Toll plazas too have been witnessing a rush from Monday and reverse migration was reported in Chennai.
On Monday, more than 13,000 people received epasses to travel to Chennai. According to the data released by Greater Chennai Corporation, GCC approved a whopping 13,826 epasses on August 18. The Corporation rejected only 27 applications or 0.19% of the total number of requests. On Tuesday, the Corporation received 18,853 epass requests and accepted 18,823 epass applications.
Following this, Municipal Administration and Water Supplies Department Secretary Harmander Singh on Wednesday ordered that efforts should be intensified to isolate and monitor people entering Chennai. Zonal officers have been asked collect the details of people especially workers of industrial estates and send it ro Corporation officials to monitor the quarantine status of the people.
Most number of people have applied passes under the stranded category. Around 4,131 people who applied for epasses under stranded category have received the passes till now.
In contrast, between August 1 and August 18, the Chennai Corporation had accepted just 82,401 epasses and rejected 45,085 passes.
Mixed reaction from transport workers
The decision of the government to provide epass for all has received mixed response from drivers in the transport sector.
Stating that the number of people entering Tamil Nadu has increased, Manoharan of Tamil Nadu Lorry Drivers Association said, “As soon as the government started providing epasses for all, the number of people visiting other places have increased. From the beginning, since we were driving lorry for essential service, we were not stopped from providing our service. So we have not faced any issues like rejection of epasses. But I must say that the crowd has increased in the toll plazas.”
As of Monday till 6 pm, the Tamil Nadu government issued 1.2 lakh epasses for all inter-district travel.
Despite the rush, the decision of the government to provide passes received appreciation from tempo drivers who were living without a source of income for the past six months. A tempo lorry driver Bharathi of Srirangam said, “Since epasses are being issued to everyone who applies, we have started receiving more trips. We are submitting the Aadhaar details and we are getting the approval within a few minutes.”
“We do not get trips like before because people are traveling only for essential services. However, the banks and financiers are already forcing us to pay the due amount. So the government should take efforts to help us,” he added