It was May 29 and I was flying to Srinagar from New Delhi. But I was skeptical about contracting the infection because social distancing norms were not being followed anywhere. The scene at the New Delhi airport was like pre-lockdown days. It looks like people don’t care about this virus and are more interested in reaching their destinations.
It took us 1 hour and 25 minutes to reach Srinagar. We landed at 8:30 am. The situation was entirely different in Srinagar. I have never seen such disciplined staff in the valley so far: Ensuring social distancing, wearing masks, officials in protective gear while talking politely to the passengers.
The collection of samples from the travelers at the arrival terminal was well-organised. Separate tents were set up in the parking lot by the authorities for registering the travelers. Within an hour, all the passengers who landed at the airport were sent to respective districts for quarantine. The transport facility was arranged by the government. No one was given special treatment. All of them were treated equally.
I registered for the paid quarantine facility. I was sent to Tourist Reception Centre in Srinagar in a bus only seven passengers were allowed to board. The other vehicles also carried the same number of passengers to their respective places.
“I have never seen such good behavior from the officials. This is different. I am getting a hero’s welcome after arriving in Srinagar,” said Tariq, who runs a factory at Delhi’s Tilak Nagar.
Tariq said he had been critical of the administration for decades, but today the situation was different.
On reaching TRC Srinagar, the administration’s smooth execution of a quarantine plan for its citizens was visible on the ground. From food to seating, the passengers who registered for the paid quarantine facility were being provided hotels on discounted tariff.
“It’s been two months and the administration is providing 24X7 hassle-free facilities for the people who arrive in Srinagar. From arranging vehicles to transporting them to the quarantine centers, everything was provided by the administration,” said Fayaz Ahmad Baba, a magistrate at TRC Srinagar.
During the night’s stay at a hotel, I didn’t feel away from home with a doctor and nodal officer just a call away.
On May 30, I was tested negative for Covid-19. I was discharged from the hotel and was sent to home quarantine. Thanks to the administration for working tirelessly to combat this dreadful infection and help people during these turbulent times.
(Shamshad Ali is a New Delhi based Journalist and can be contacted at [email protected])