Fumigation at Lal Chowk in Srinagar (File Photo: KM/Umar Ganie)

Can’t afford to lower guard at this critical juncture: DC Srinagar

Srinagar: Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary Tuesday said that every step will be taken for economic revival and sustaining livelihood but without losing focus on COVID containment.

He said this in the backdrop of demands of trade and business bodies for complete lifting of lockdown.

Speaking to KNS, DC Srinagar said: “District Srinagar has been categorized as Red Zone District and activities as notified in State Executive Committee order dated 7 June 2020 can only be allowed; we held wide ranging consultations with trade and business organizations thereafter allowed opening of grocery shops w.e.f June 1, in addition to fruit, vegetable and other essentials. Industry, handloom & handicrafts, workshops and e-commerce were also allowed among a dozen odd activities, further home delivery by restaurants and opening of hotels etc. was notified on 8 June as per SEC norms”.

He added that order issued for the UT clearly states that Shops including Bazars and Markets are allowed to open in Orange Zones and Green Zone districts while only Malls with 50% shops to open in Red Zone with specific precautionary preconditions.

Dr Choudhary further said that, “Despite this we were actively working with business organizations for working out implementable solutions keeping in mind mandatory measures required for COVID containment, still a trade organization announced opening of markets in disregard to the SEC order which at Serial Number 25 allows this for Orange Zone districts only”.

He pitched for working collectively for continuing fight against pandemic and striking balance with economic revival and sustaining livelihood but chances like this cannot be taken at this stage.

Dr Choudhary said that trade organizations have been asked to come up with firm plans reassuring not only administration but general public for safety measures to be adopted.

“In view of rising number of cases and 54 containment zones already existing in Srinagar, we need to be extra cautious, he said, adding that despite multiple repeated advisories it’s not a good sign to see pictures of large crowds coming up every day. A mature societal response is needed at this hour with all stakeholders acting in unison,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the traders’ fraternity including members from various trade associations held a meeting with the district administration regarding the possibility of resuming business in the valley.

The district administration, the traders told The Kashmir Monitor, had allowed them to resume their business operations in Srinagar city centre from 9am to 6pm.

“We held a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and have been allowed to open our shops and other business establishments.  We have been asked to given an undertaking regarding the strict adherence to SOPs by the shopkeepers,” Chairman Kashmir Traders and Manufactures Union Muhammad Yaseen Khan told The Kashmir Monitor.

“We have come up with the undertaking and shall submit it to the district administration by today evening in our second meeting,” he added.

Later in the day, however, Khan said the meeting could not take place.

“DC sahib was busy somewhere. Now we have got a call for a final and crucial meeting over re-opening of shops in Lal Chowk and other parts of Srinagar at 12 noon tomorrow (Wednesdday,” Khan told The Kashmir Monitor.

DC Srinagar too said that heads of business and trade organizations will be joining for a meeting tomorrow and plans already worked out with them shall be examined.

He said that every required step will be taken for assisting the business community without losing sight of steps required for COVID containment in Srinagar.

“A gradual easing is the only way out, with primary focus on covid containment he said. I appreciate the trade and business organizations for their positive approach towards working out best solutions.”

He also cited a host of advisories obtained from SKIMS, Govt Medical College and DHS among others for adherence during business operations. (With inputs from KNS)

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