Chennai: DMK President M K Stalin on Thursday asked the AIADMK government not to create an "artificial barrier" for travel by people and demanded immediate cancellation of the e-pass system for inter- district journey.
Applications seeking passes even for emergencies have been rejected many times though the government had said permission would be given for inter-district travel for medical emergencies, deaths and marriages, he alleged adding "the e-pass system in the AIADMK government is a big failure."
Citing news reports on alleged corruption in issuance of e-pass in places including Chennai, he said, "extending the system and hasslingpeople is inhuman and counter-productive."
Since March 25, people could not make inter-district journeys even for emergencies and they were being harassed, he alleged.
When the Central government itself has announced that e-pass is not compulsory, the "AIADMK government continuing to have it with an ulterior motive will not be a solution for the affected people," he said.
While Chief Minister K Palaniswami maintained that the government acted according to the Centre's guidelines on COVID-19 management, "why did not he follow it on the e-pass system," Stalin, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, asked in a statement.
"On the one hand you allow relaxations, say that people can go for work and companies could open and on the other hand you say that e-pass is mandatory for inter-district travel confining people to their homes. What kind of Coronavirus management is this?" he sought to know from Palaniswami.
Asserting that this question crossed the minds of all the people, he wanted the government to respect the public sentiment and immediately rescind the e-pass system for inter-district travel.
"I ask Palaniswami to not create an artificial barrier for people who want to travel."
Also, he said by putting up such a barrier, "do not open up the door for corruption and hassle people...for the lockdown relaxations to benefit the public this step (cancelling e-pass regime) is immediately needed," he said.
So far, police have arrested at least eight men in Tamil Nadu for allegedly creating fake e-pass and luring people to approach them to get the passes.
While five including two government employees were held in Chennai, two were arrested in Tiruchirapalli and a man was held in Vellore.
Though the state government had announced several relaxations, e-pass is needed for inter-district travel.