Export-import of vegetables in limbo as Nipah virus restrictions continue at Karipur airport
Following the outbreak of the Nipah virus, several restrictions were imposed in Kozhikode district. Now, even after a month has passed since Kozhikode became Nipah-free, the restrictions continue at Karipur airport.
Kozhikode: In the wake of the Nipah virus, there is a slow pace in lifting the restriction imposed by the health department on the export of vegetables through Karipur airport in Kozhikode. Due to the lack of a "No Nipah Certificate," the traders must rely on other airports in order to export vegetables. The complaint is that, despite the lifting of limitations on other airports in the state, Karipur airport remains unconsidered.
The Nipah fear limited the shipping of fruits and vegetables via the airport. Airports were subject to stringent requirements for exports to the United Arab Emirates. Exports of fruits and vegetables to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah were only permitted by traders who held a Nipah-free certificate. The No Nipah certificate for exports through Karipur still stands as the airport is close to Kozhikode, the source of Nipah.
The complaint is that even after a month has passed since Kozhikode became Nipah-free, the health department is not taking a favorable stand for exports through Karipur airport. The explanation given by the health department in this regard: 'Even if Kozhikode is free from Nipah, the certificate can be granted only after considering the statistical report. The district medical officer and the collector have been made responsible for this. As soon as this is obtained, the restriction will be lifted.'
The reason why Karipur restricts the import of vegetables from Tamil Nadu, a region unaffected by Nipah, is likewise an issue that remains unanswered. Every week, Karipur exports 350 tonnes of fruits and vegetables on average.
Meanwhile, Kerala Health Minister Veena George informed that ICMR has confirmed the presence of Nipah virus in bats in Wayanad district. The ICMR informed that the presence of the virus had been confirmed in bats in Bathery and Mananthavadi areas.