After the Centre allowed lifting of restrictions on inter-state movement of people, states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, which have reported the highest number of coronavirus cases, and those in the Northeast decided to continue with the curbs after the end of the fourth phase of the lockdown.
Several others like Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Telangana announced they are allowing inter-state movement as part of easing of restrictions under the ‘Unlock-1’ after such travel was banned for over two months due to the coronavirus lockdown, though some of them have put their own conditions.
The Karnataka government, while allowing inter-state movement, said separate orders will be issued by Health and Family Welfare Department for people coming to the state.
The UP government said there is no ban on interstate travel but left it to the district administrations of Ghaziabad and Noida to take a call on the movement of people from adjoining Delhi. The state has not restarted its inter-state bus service.
The Punjab government said there would be no restriction on inter-state movement of people and it would require no separate permission or e-permit. However, use of COVA app and self-generated ‘e-pass’ would be mandatory.
In a televised address, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said people won’t need e-passes for inter-state travel in personal vehicles from Monday but a decision on re-starting inter-state public transport will be taken on June 7.
In neighbouring Chhattisgarh, the state government said inter-state travel without requisite permission from authorities will continue to remain prohibited.
The Odisha government said it has initiated the process to pave way for resumption of inter-state bus services.
Letters have been sent to all the states with which Odisha has bus connectivity seeking their response for resumption of inter-state services, Transport minister Padmanabha Behera said.
The discordant stance taken by the states on the issue is similar to the confusion that prevailed when the Centre allowed resumption of domestic air services on May 25, as the states came out with their own set of rules for passengers.
The Home Ministry, while lifting the restrictions on Saturday under ‘Unlock 1’, had said that governments of states and union territories will be free to regulate movement for public health reasons, provided they give wide publicity to the restrictions in advance.
According to the health ministry data updated on Sunday morning, the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 65,168, followed by Tamil Nadu at 21,184, Delhi at 18,549, Gujarat at 16,343, Rajasthan at 8,617, Madhya Pradesh at 7,891 and Uttar Pradesh at 7,445.
Of the total 5,164 fatalities, Maharashtra tops the tally with 2,197 deaths, followed by Gujarat (1,007), Delhi (416), Madhya Pradesh (343), West Bengal (309), Uttar Pradesh (201), Rajasthan (193), Tamil Nadu (160), Telangana (77) and Andhra Pradesh (60).
The Maharashtra government said that inter-state travel by road, air and trains from Maharashtra will remain prohibited in the latest phase of the lockdown until June 30 with exceptions being made for migrant workers, stranded people and ‘Shramik’ special trains.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the curbs on inter-state bus transport and Metro and suburban train services will continue people.
E-pass will be compulsory for inter-zone and inter-state travel, he said.
In the Northeast, where less number of cases have been reported, Meghalaya has extended the ongoing lockdown till June 6, continuing with the existing curbs, including not allowing inter-district and inter-state movement of vehicles barring those having lockdown passes.
The Mizoram government too said all inter-state or cross-border movement of vehicles carrying passengers is strictly prohibited except those permitted by the Home department.
Meghalaya has registered 27 cases while Mizoram had one case.
Karnataka Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar issued an order saying “there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra- state movement of persons and goods”.
No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements, it said.
The order said based on public health and assessment of the prevalence of COVID-19 in various states, separate orders will be issued by Health and Family Welfare Department on inter state movement of people to Karnataka.
Under the fresh guidelines by Rajasthan government, there would be no restriction on interstate and intrastate movement of persons and goods and no separate pass, permission, approval or permit would be required for that.
The West Bengal government, which on Saturday allowed intra-state (inter-district) movement of government and private buses from June 1, has not said anything about restarting of inter-state bus services.
Though Delhi has been witnessing a steady rise in cases, officials in the city government said it is in favour of allowing interstate movement of people from Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and other NCR cities .
It is authorities in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana which have restricted the entry from the national capital, citing spike in COVID-19 cases, they said.
Issuing fresh guidelines for the next phase of the lockdown, which begins Monday and will last till June 30, Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary R K Tiwari said on Sunday that “there is no ban on interstate and intra-state movement by persons or goods” and there is no need for a separate approval or an e-permit.
However, the state government left it to Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad administrations to take a call on relaxing restrictions on travellers from New Delhi.
By late evening, both Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad authorities decided that their border with Delhi will remain sealed as before.
Both districts allow movement related to essential services and for people with valid passes. But the restrictions meant to contain coronavirus cause problems for people who commute to work across the border.
Gautam Buddh Nagar has seen 414 coronavirus cases, including seven deaths so far. There have been 328 cases, including four deaths, in Ghaziabad, while in Delhi the number of cases is close to 20,000 and death toll is 473.
Haryana government too said on Sunday night that there will be no restrictions on inter-state and inter-district movement of people or goods.
The Union Home ministry had on Saturday said that there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods and no additional permission required for such travels.
“However, if a state or UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate movement of persons, it will give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement, and the related procedures to be followed,” it had said.