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Old 17th June 2020, 17:45   #12616
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

Thanks Arun and Ike. Much appreciated. Usually go the ulundurpet route precisely because it has less traffic in the day, so thought it was a good idea to get some feedback. I think I’ll take the Villupuram route, if I remember correctly there are more petrol pumps on that route, so chances of help if I need it owing to any car trouble or something else might be better.
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Old 17th June 2020, 17:56   #12617
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Originally Posted by philipmathen View Post
Thanks Arun and Ike. Much appreciated. Usually go the ulundurpet route precisely because it has less traffic in the day, so thought it was a good idea to get some feedback. I think I’ll take the Villupuram route, if I remember correctly there are more petrol pumps on that route, so chances of help if I need it owing to any car trouble or something else might be better.
Not sure if petrol bunks are allowed to stay open through the night owing to the situation. Drive Safe!
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Old 17th June 2020, 20:17   #12618
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Not sure if petrol bunks are allowed to stay open through the night owing to the situation. Drive Safe!
Petrol pumps are open 24x7 in state and national highways within Tamil Nadu if I am not wrong. So fuelling should not be a problem.
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Old 20th June 2020, 17:44   #12619
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Here is a long update after my first drive from Bangalore to Kerala and back since the first lockdown. My in-laws were on a 2 week short visit to Kerala from Chennai, in March, and subsequently got stranded there for 3 months. We travelled recently to pick them up and bring them to Bangalore. Most of my update is related to the e-Pass system involved in interstate travel.

Bangalore to Thrissur on June 18 and return on June 19
Route: Arekere - Hosur - Salem - Walayar - Palakkad - Shoranur - Thrissur
  • I found quite a few restaurants open with several cars parked in front. Not sure if they were providing dine-in or take-out service since I didn’t stop.
  • I've a new gripe about the L&T bypass related to FasTag. It doesn't debit the entire 45/- at one booth. Instead, it initially debits 17/- for one sector and makes another debit of 28/- at a later booth. So, the last time I went, it worked perfectly fine while going towards Kerala but on my return it made a 17/-, 28/- and a 45/- debit on my tag. I logged a dispute which was rejected, no reason given, and I subsequently logged a complaint which is still in progress. This time, while driving to Kerala, it worked fine like before. However, on my return the FasTag lane was very long and not moving while the cash lane was free. I decided to pay cash and proceed. But it ended up debited my Tag too, once for 17- and then for 28/- though I was using only the cash lane for the entire bypass. Have logged a dispute.
  • Traffic seemed as normal as pre-lockdown days with the exception of reduced number of maniacal private buses on the Palakkad - Shoranur sector.
  • Only time I felt that traffic was probably lesser than normal was at toll booths which were mostly empty.
  • Transport buses in TN had standing passengers, all towns in Kerala enroute were crowded, business as usual.
  • The flyover constructions after Salem seemed to be proceeding at a good pace.
Ok, now all about the e-Pass

Before travel
  • KA SOP for interstate travel now allows "business" travel from KA to other states for 4 days with no quarantine or hand stamping on return. "Business" is not defined. Also, as I discovered eventually, staff at the border have no clue.
  • Since KA only allows a limited number of vehicles at the borders for entry, I first started with KA entry pass on 12th. There were a few slots available for the 18th (Attibele) but by the time I got down to business they got taken. Next availability was for 19th with around 100 slots available. I decided to apply for 2 passes. One for us taking benefit of the KA "business" travel clause stating that we are returnees after a 1 day visit to KL. Another for my in-laws for entry into KA. By the time I got around to applying for the second pass after about 10 - 15 mins, Attibele had only less than 40 slots remaining. Anyway I managed both passes for the 19th and got the approval too within a few minutes. We knew that my in-laws have to undergo home quarantine for 14 days which will effectively quarantine us as well inspite of the KA "business" travel clause.
  • Next was KL entry pass for us. KL allows a short visit pass for 7 days without quarantine requirements. But, they have restricted the purposes for which this is allowed. All those purposes have to be supported by documentation too. Apparently family visit was an allowed option before but due to overwhelming crowd and overuse of that option by people, they have removed it. I tried, with eventual success, getting them on phone for an entire day to explain and get an exception approval for our pass. I also had to apply for an exit pass for my in-laws which got approved by 15th.
  • Next I applied for TN transit passes, one for the 2 of us for our onward journey and one for return for the 4 of us. They were straight forward and were approved within 5 - 10 minutes. One tricky requirement was that they needed the applicant's address proof at the destination which I found to be a bit strange.

So, now I was armed with all passes required for the journey and printed and organised all of them more meticulously than I've even done for international travel.

Onward journey
  • Breezed through Attibele toll. There was no checking by KA police.
  • Was stopped by the friendly TN police soon and they enquired about our well being and also the destination. Since we had the pass (also stuck on the windshield), we were waved through. We were stopped another 3 - 4 times until Coimbatore but were waved on through after exchanging brief pleasantries.
  • KL entry was well organised. You are automatically guided to the check point parking lot from where you can approach any of the many counters (I think there were more than 12 counters). The staff sits behind glass partition. You hold your pass up against the glass window and they take down the required details. Temperature check is done and you are issued their official pass that is cross-checked at the exit. All smooth and well managed.
  • Didn't encounter any further checking in KL.

Return journey
  • Breezed through Walayar. No check by KL for exit pass.
  • Stopped by TN police after Walayar. This time I had to get down from the car, show the pass and then proceed. We were stopped another 3 times by clearly frustrated police personnel and had to get down to provide details at a counter where someone slowly noted them down in a register before we could proceed. Each stop may have taken around 5 - 8 minutes.

All the fun was reserved for KA border at Attibele.
  • The first welcome gesture was the all familiar jam as they have put up barricades regulating traffic flow from 3 lanes into 1 lane. By gut feel, endowed by genetic restlessness and honed by years of practice, I picked the left lane which moved much quicker. After clearing the barricade you are welcomed to join the next jam, this time for making it past the check point. Now, I recollect reading in some previous post that picking the right most lane, especially with a KA regd vehicle may make things easy. But, quite contrary to that caution, my baser instinct of being in a faster moving lane made me stick to the left lane. It landed up with me having to eventually take the dedicated permit check point lane.
  • There were several counters on the left. The police asked me where I was coming from and immediately asked me to park the car on the right and make entry at the counters. Park on the right? Well, there is the straight through traffic on the right lane, then the median and then TN bound traffic exiting the toll. So where on the right I wondered, and asked the next police person. They seemed taken aback that I couldn’t figure this out and was pointed to the parking on the TN bound side cutting across oncoming traffic in two directions. Then you park and walk back to the counters crossing the highway again on foot. Since I presumed that they would want to see all passengers and do temperature check I made my in-laws accompany us too across TN bound traffic and KA bound traffic to make it to the counters. The maximum adventure that they got since the lockdown.
  • It was a market scene at the counters. There was nobody providing any guidance leaving you to make your best guess. We tentatively approached a help desk counter and as soon as they heard the word KL, they ordered "go to counter X". But counter X said with a big bold label that it was for Hotel quarantine. So we gave that a skip and browsed the other counters we could pick from. We could as well turn back, get back into the car and head home with no one even taking notice. But we didn’t. Some counters said "other district", some said "hotel quarantine", some "home quarantine" and one said “Bangalore". So we picked that counter.
  • Now all these counters were (wo)manned by pink fairies all sitting close together and chatting away. As soon as we got to our pink fairy, and before we could even finish 1 sentence an agent beetle buzzed by and asked us "Hotel or Home"? I explained that we are returnees from a 1 day trip and the SOP allowed us to return without quarantine. I even had the print out of the SOP with relevant section highlighted that I showed them. It was brushed aside by another pink fairy sitting at an adjacent counter with a smart remark that "what saar 1 day, covid takes only 1 minute” and to the SOP from gov, she quipped that “What rules saar, it all comes from much above, Gaad"! The mask gobbled up my choicest reply in flaky Kannada! By this time, the fairies from adjacent counters, the agent beetle and another angel were all chipping in making no sense. Meanwhile the fairy at our counter was rolling her eyes with a tired expression and trying her best to avoid eye contact. Finally an angel stopped by and resolved the confusion saying home quarantine is mandatory. They had the last laugh as they left their mark on our left hands. All the while they probably wondered that the two senior citizens with us were just audience watching the fun. I then told them about my in-laws and they looked lost “Now what?”. They wondered among themselves "why senior citizens are not staying in their homes". After a few strange looks, they stamped them too and we were let go. We strolled back to the car across highway traffic, turned around the wrong way in true Bangalore style, cut back to the KA side towards the toll and proceeded homeward. No one cross verified if we have been cleared. Rest of the way back home I could think of several different ways I could've avoided the entire hassle but for our over-conditioned resolve to be compliant with procedures. Net net the border seemed very porous, staffed by quite clueless people with no defined procedures, a set up prone to crowding and spreading, themselves immune to infection all sitting so close together, no verification of any sort and preferring chatting among themselves. to weary travellers who want to just get home.
  • All the while they never seemed to bother about the entry pass which left me wondering why so much drama of limited entry slots etc. Maybe just deterrents that'll keep the law abiding ones away.
This is just a record of my experience. Based on this, the next time, with no intention to break any rules, I’ll pick the right lane and also insist on speaking to some senior officer before heading to any pink fairy counter. You may have a totally different experience since consistency and standardised procedure seemed strange concepts to them. Safe travels and good luck.
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Old 20th June 2020, 22:41   #12620
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

I read on a Facebook post, that the road opposite to Hosur bus stand, connects you directly to the bommasandra fly over road (this side of border) and skips all tolls.

I am not suggesting people to do that, but if there is a medical emergency and you have to reach home skipping all this, you may want to make a note.
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Old 21st June 2020, 01:36   #12621
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I traveled back from Kerala (Palakkad) on 18th June 2020 to Bengaluru after being there for a few months due to personal exigency. The walayar border was just 3 minutes where you get down show the paper and move on with the TM transit epass as they feel good no checks as we are heading to Bengaluru. I wish they could do it online as I thought since it had a QR code could be scanned electronically but hey do the entry in the register. I could just count 2 cars with KA registration till Salem and was wondering it should be hassle free to enter the border with a KA registration vehicle but I was surprised with the scores of traffic moving around as Chennai and adjoining districts were moving into a lock down starting 19th June 2020.

I could see many of the cars taking a right from Hosur. I now know why they did what the did after seeing the above message. I had the same experience as highlighted by Midnight with scores of cars trying to move past the barricade once you reach Attibelle and people were complaining as they had also made TN returnees with a compulsory three day mandatory quarantine as the rule only came into effect 18th morning.. I also was told to go right towards the TN side after the three lanes becoming one and no proper coordination where they kept hitting the car with their sticks. I almost went looking for the right side what they meant to see if there are any counters as no one tells just directions there but then I realized i almost reach the TN border post.

Then had to come wrong side park near the shops cross over get the formalities done and then move onto the KA side on the right lane by using a thin lane crossing. I will suggest please stop on the KA side where the counter are there complete the formalities and then enter with the proud to protect Bengaluru hand sign for the 14 days quarantine or otherwise depending on which state you come from. I wish they had the electronic way of clearing with the QR code like they emphasize the Aarogya Setu app. It will save a lot of time and data can be properly captured for each passenger, Please also note that we need both the TN transit epass and KA pass to avoid any hassle. Please select the proper dates and entry/exit points so there are no complications and get turned back at the border. This looks like a scene from the movie Contagion. I wish we don't misuse the lockdown - stay safe, go by the rules and prevent us getting into an alarming condition like other cities and states.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 22nd June 2020 at 20:32. Reason: Spacing and paragraphs for readability. Thanks!
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Old 22nd June 2020, 20:14   #12622
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Update on my trip to Kerala on 18th from Chennai, pardon the long post.

I finally ended up taking the ulundurpet route, primarily because i started 2 hours later than initially planned, so would cross ulundurpet at day break.

Brief break-up of the process to apply for passes in case anyone else plans to:

1. Apply for the kerala entry pass through the covid19jagratha portal. Very straightforward, choose the option applicable and fill in your details. You will have different time slots for entry at the checkpoints, with the available slots displayed in brackets. I would advise to go for the slots after 1PM, so you can avoid starting at unearthly hours.

*IMP*- double check all your information, especially your destination address and related local body/municipal details. This is critical, as the application immediately reaches the local health officer of the area, who must recommend a home quarantine(based on his/her assessment over phone, and if required, in person at your intended place of home quarantine) Any mistakes will mean that your application remains in Limbo.

2. Once the kerala entry pass is approved, download the pdf and apply for the interstate exit pass from the TN site: https://rtos.nonresidenttamil.org
Select the criteria applicable to you, key in your vehicle details and traveler's details. Upload the pdf of the kerala entry pass. If all is in order, TN pass is issued in 30 minutes flat.

The drive:

Started from Chennai at 2.30 AM, set the route for the Ulundurpet route which estimated a 8.5 hour journey as opposed to the other options which were 11-13 hours.
Smooth sailing all through, did not stop anywhere, till around 7.30 AM, somewhere near Erode if i recall correctly, when i needed a break and a coffee. Handed over driving to my wife, who eventually ended driving the remainder of the distance since i was feeling very drowsy.

On the way there are frequent checks by police, so ensure you stick your TN travel pass to your windshield for convenience and safety. Some places required us to get out and record our names and temperatures, destination and such. (Feels a bit repetitive as all the information can easily be accessed if they scan the QR on the pass. You do not really need to expose health workers by making them interact with travellers just for the sake of this data.)

Reached Walayar at 11 AM(our slot was 10AM-1PM). Was directed to Counter number 4, which is for those travelling with children, pregnant women. They cross checked the pass information with their database, recorded our temperature and issued a paper mentioning that we are to go into quarantine for 14 days at the destination. Took less than 10 minutes in all.

At Walayar, there is a makeshift refreshment stand run by Kudumbashree, where you can buy bottled water, soft drinks, tea(no coffee). I understand meals are not available, however snacks are. Toilets are available, but the men's toilet was not clean- okay if you need to use the urinal, but not clean in anyway.(they have re-purposed a defunct sales tax checkpoint for the covid operations, so i believe upkeep is minimal, added to general habit of littering the place with cigarette butts). Wife had similar feedback about the facilities for women.

Traffic was light from Walayar till Angamaly, and there are routine checks by the police, especially in Palakkad and Thrissur.

*Best fill up petrol if you need to, before you cross Walayar, because when i needed to, i found that petrol stations are on service roads that entail a long detour to get off the highway and then back on. There are ample options immediately before Walayar on the TN side.

Once we reached our destination, we immediately notified the local health officer, who in turn shared a few pointers on prevention of spread, a few videos, and helpline numbers. They also notified the local police, who immediately came and identified the house for patrolling during their beats, and who also shared a link to a tracking app. The app however works only on Android devices, and alerts if you power down the device or switch off location sharing.

A few observations:

Tamil Nadu
1.Travel pass seemed to be a far easier process, probably since we were leaving the state
2. Although traffic was light compared to pre-covid days, it was definitely higher than i anticipated, right from Chennai, all the way through till Walayar
3. Hotels are open and serve food, I stopped at a Sree Saravana outlet near Erode since we had forgot to carry a flask of coffee. Adequate distance between tables, and all staff were wearing PPEs, with an additional PET face guard.
4.Ulundurpet route definitely saves a chunk of time, stretches of two lane highways, but good road surface, no potholes.
5. People generally seemed very relaxed and a lot of them were not wearing masks.
6. Did not see any rash drivers thankfully, only a few taxis that were clocking well north of 120kmph

Kerala:
1. Traffic and movement of people in general was less compared to TN.
2. Very well thought out strategy is evident on the ground, and heartening to see everyone follow it.
3. The local police come and check at least twice a day to confirm you are not stepping out, in addition to checking over the phone.
4. The local health worker is in constant touch, with a video-conferencing facility and doctors on call.
5. Counsellors call and enquire about mental health and general well being.
6. Local panchayat/municipal point of contact can help with buying groceries, medicines and similar needs.

We are now 5 days into quarantine, and so far all good.

Thanks again to arun and ike for their help planning the trip.

Stay safe all!
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Old 24th June 2020, 09:31   #12623
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Anyone travelled to any destination in TN recently ?. I heard mandatory two days institutional quarantine is required, and covid testing is done. Is this true ?
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Old 25th June 2020, 13:34   #12624
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Those who completed quarantine in Kerala - any process to follow once the quarantine ends?
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Old 25th June 2020, 13:44   #12625
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Those who completed quarantine in Kerala - any process to follow once the quarantine ends?
Get the quarantine completion certificate from the govt. hospital or primary health centre associated with your ward/municipality.
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Old 27th June 2020, 18:03   #12626
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Our 14-day quarantine ended yesterday in Pathanamthitta. We came from Bengaluru. Almost every other day we got a call from the Pathanamthitta Collectorate asking if we were showing any symptoms of COVID. We also got calls from the local PHC (Public Health Center) which was a hospital asking the same quite frequently. In one of those calls we were asked to observe quarantine for 28 days instead of 14. But yesterday, we got a call from the PHC saying its ok for us to step out of the house for essential needs. We were also asked to visit the PHC to get our COVID certificates as soon as we can. Prior to arriving to Pathanamthitta, right after we applied for our Kerala passes, ASHA workers came home two times to check if there were enough quarantine facilities at home. During our 14 day quarantine though, there were no visits from anyone from the Collectorate, police, PHC or ASHA people. Regarding the actual travel (which happened on June 12), I've posted about it here

Last edited by moralfibre : 27th June 2020 at 18:07.
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Old 28th June 2020, 08:46   #12627
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Those who completed quarantine in Kerala - any process to follow once the quarantine ends?
We had a family who came from Mumbai in quarantine in our house. We had to move to a different house because of this. On the first day, the cops came and visited them twice. They kept getting calls from the cops and ASHA worker almost everyday.

But when the quarantine ended, one particular worker said that you can apply for the results online? That was absurd. We asked them to get the test done. Also, the cops called on the final day and gave them two options:

1) Either get the test done
2) Stay in quarantine for another 14 days

They got the test done and came out negative. They were pretty impressive with the entire system. Nothing like this happened in Mumbai.
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Old 29th June 2020, 23:04   #12628
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Hi, Due to some unavoidable circumstances, I need to travel to Kerala. I am planning to drive to PKD with wife and kids. Planning to take BNG - Mysore - Wayanad - PKD route to avoid TN completely. I will be applying for a Kerala pass; do I also need to apply for TN transit pass just in case and KA transit pass? The vehicle is KA registered. Please reply and help with the details. Any tips about the route will also be helpful. This is my first time through this route. Thanks.
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Old 29th June 2020, 23:25   #12629
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Any tips about the route will also be helpful. This is my first time through this route. Thanks.
You have not clearly mentioned from where you are starting from. Is it from Bangalore? If so, and if you are planning to go via Mysore - Wayanad, then you certainly do not need a TN pass. KA pass is anyway not needed if your starting point is KA.
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Old 30th June 2020, 08:29   #12630
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You have not clearly mentioned from where you are starting from. Is it from Bangalore? If so, and if you are planning to go via Mysore - Wayanad, then you certainly do not need a TN pass. KA pass is anyway not needed if your starting point is KA.
Thanks. Yes, I will start from Bangalore.
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