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Public transport, entry from Bangladesh banned in Tripura

By Correspondent

AGARTALA, March 22 - Even as Tripura remains safe from the novel coronavirus, the state government has taken some drastic steps to contain the spread of the deadly disease, including suspension of public transport, inter-state bus service and ban on entry through the Agartala-Akhaura Land Customs Station (LCS).

The decision was taken on Sunday after the state witnessed a shutdown in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s Janata Curfew.

The response was huge as people remained at home while the otherwise busy streets were deserted and government offices remained closed. Even temples and business outlets were closed during the Janata Curfew.

Reports said there has been a spurt in passenger traffic at the Agartala LCS since March 18, particularly of persons of Indian origin.

The average number of Indian passengers coming through the LCS was 40-50 earlier, but it went up to 500 on March 20, and 302 on March 21, prompting the state administration to look into the alarming trend.

Most of them are Indian travellers taking the Bangladesh route. As Bangladesh is still allowing international flights, many Indian travellers are landing in Bangladesh, particularly in Dhaka, and taking the land route to cross over to Tripura. From Agartala, they are taking flights to different destinations across India. This is negating the gains of cancellation of international flights in India.

Many flights are also coming from the Gulf nations, considered high-risk countries.

However, only some travellers showing symptoms have been detained in Tripura and kept in isolation. �Majority were leaving Tripura to different locations in other parts of the country,� said a Health Department official on Sunday.

�After due consideration of all aspects, it was decided to restrict movement of passenger traffic from Agartala LCS from midnight of March 22 till March 31. The order has been issued under Section 2 of the Epidemic Disease Act and Section 38 of the Disaster Management Act,� the official said.

Cargo movement, however, has been allowed to continue to maintain supply of commodities, he said, adding that inter-state bus service and public transport will also remain suspended from March 23 to 31. The government would provide relief to the affected workforce � poor and daily wage earners and employees engaged in the private sector, he said.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, meanwhile, took to social media and congratulated the people for joining the Janata Curfew.

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