Coronavirus lockdown: Wall built along Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border demolished after protest
Tamil Nadu’s (TN) Vellore district administration on Monday evening ordered the demolition of the two concrete walls constructed on an interstate highway connecting Andhra Pradesh’s (AP) Chittoor district a day before, hours after the pictures went viral and the AP authorities took exception to the unilateral move.
Vellore district collector A Shanmuga Sundaram said that the walls constructed on the highway --- in a bid to prevent interstate movement between TN and AP amid the growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak --- had been demolished.
“We’ve pulled down the walls that were erected on two places on the state highway connecting Vellore with Chittoor districts,” Sundaram told HT over the phone.
“The Vellore district administration ordered the demolition of the walls after Chittoor district collector N Bharat Gupta took up the matter with Sundaram, citing the immediate need to restore emergency transport services,” Chittoor joint collector D Markandeyulu said.
The wall, measuring three feet in width and five feet tall, was constructed at Gudiyattam village in Vellore district, which shares its border with Chittoor district’s Palamaner block.
Another wall was erected at Kondappanaickenpalayam check-post near Ponnai in a bid to stop “unauthorised movement of vehicles and people between both the states” amid the nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were initially enforced for 21 days from March 25 and then further extended for another 19 days till May 3, to rein in the pandemic.
The Palamaner-Gudiyattam stretch is used by people from both TN and AP for the movement of essential commodities such as vegetables, flowers, and groceries to the villages that are located on both sides of the interstate highway.
Besides, the Vellore-based Christian Medical College (CMC) caters to thousands of patients from AP, who go there for treatment every year. Similarly, the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) is another favourite educational institution for Telugu-speaking students from the state.
Earlier on Monday morning, Sundaram had told HT that the Vellore district administration had constructed makeshift walls only in two places of the highway of the six borders that they share with Chittoor district.
“There are also a few other rural routes between the two states, which have been closed with boulders,” he had said.
“We’ve sealed these areas in a bid to prevent unauthorised movement of people amid the lockdown restrictions. However, both the transport of goods and the movement of people on emergency situations are allowed through alternative routes,” he had added.