Shell out Rs2.5k per month for tests to travel between Kasaragod, M’luru regularly
Mangaluru: Though the Kerala government has reintroduced interstate e-pass system allowing interstate travel, daily commuters will have to shell out Rs 2,500 per month only for rapid antigen test for Covid-19.
With the daily commuters from Kasaragod — mostly people employed in shops, other commercial establishments and in industrial sector in Dakshina Kannada —finding it difficult bear the expenses, they have asked the government to make test kits available to them for free or on discounted rates.
As per the revised rule, daily commuters will have to undergo the antigen test for Covid-19 once in a week to renew their e-passes. Kerala government had granted permission to private labs and hospitals to do antigen tests for Covid-19 in July and price for each antigen test was fixed at Rs 625. However, Kasaragod district administration is yet to decide on the price of test to be conducted on daily commuters between Kasaragod and Mangaluru.
Kasaragod-based Kishor Y, who owns a shop in Mangaluru, told TOI that his shop remains closed for since March. “Earlier, Kerala government stopped issuing e-passes for daily commuters. Now they have reintroduced the e-pass system on a condition that we undergo rapid antigen test for Covid-19 every week. Several people from Kasaragod who work as salesmen or do other odd jobs earn just Rs 10,000 – Rs 15,000 per month. It will be difficult for them to afford Rs 2,500 per month for the test. We have already launched ‘Sahayathri’, an online campaign to fight for the rights of people from Kasaragod working in Dakshina Kannada. Many of us have sent messages to Kerala revenue minister E Chandrashekharan, Kasaragod district collector Dr D Sajith Babu and people’s representatives via WhatsApp and email,” Kishor said.
Prakash M, another daily commuter said people are waiting for an order from Kasaragod district administration. “We have no issue following the new guidelines which mandates rapid antigen test for Covid-19. However, the district administration should consider waiving the cost of test,” he said.