03/04/2020 4:43 PM IST | Updated 03/04/2020 4:43 PM IST

Coronavirus: SC Asks Health Ministry To Intervene In Kerala-Karnataka Border Dispute

The Karnataka government has said it cannot open its borders to critically ill people from Kerala's Kasargod.

MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
Traffic police personnel wearing coronavirus-themed helmets participate in a campaign to educate the public in Bangalore on March 31, 2020.

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Health ministry to intervene in the dispute between Karnataka and Kerala over the blocking of highways that connect the two states.

Kerala has called for the roads—which have been barricaded and blocked by Karantaka—to be opened to allow for the movement of essential commodities and services.

Kerala government has asserted this is necessary because residents in Kasargode district of the state depend on hospitals in Karnataka’s Mangaluru for critical medical care.

The top court asked the Union health secretary to call for a meeting between chief secretaries of the both states and urged both Karnataka and Kerala not to precipitate the matter, LiveLaw reported.

Karnataka had on Thursday moved SC against the Kerala High Court order which directed the removal of the blockade. 

At least five people from the state have died after being turned away at the border by Karnataka Police while trying to reach hospitals in Mangaluru.

Kerala CM Pinarayi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice regarding the matter.

The Karnataka government has been firm in its stand, saying it cannot open its borders to critically ill people from Kasargod, insisting that it would be disastrous and increase risk of spreading the virus as Kasargod was one of the worst affected districts in Kerala. 

Mangaluru citycCorporation on Thursday came out with an order restricting people and vehicles from the neighbouring state.

As the virus is spreading through the movement of people and by coming in contact with people who are afflicted, it becomes necessary to restrict the movement of vehicles and people from Kerala within the MCC limits, Corporation Commissioner said.

The Supreme Court has asked the Union health secretary and the chief secretaries of both the states to decide on parameters of passage to be permitted at the border, Bar&Bench reported. 

The next hearing in the case will be on April 7.