Srinagar: The government has ordered closure of all shops and business establishments in old city areas of Srinagar every Friday.
Invoking the Jammu and Kashmir Shops and Establishments Act, 1966, an official communiqué made public on Saturday said that the Labour and Employment Department has fixed different week days as “close days” for traders and businessmen operating in 56 areas of Srinagar.
Business units in areas constituting the entire Sheher-e-Khaas or old-city Srinagar have been asked to remain closed on Fridays. The areas mentioned are Munawarabad, Khanyar, Bohri Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Iddgah, Noorbagh, Safakadal, S R Gunj, Aali Kadal, Zaina Kadal, Nowhatta, Gojwara, Hawal and Nowshera.
In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) and (1-a) of Section 13 of Jammu and Kashmir Shops and Establishments Act, 1966, and in partial modification of SRO No. 492 dated 29-10-1981 and SRO 269 dated 21.06.1984, the government of Jammu and Kashmir hereby fix the following days as “close days” for all kinds of shops & establishments in the areas specified against each day within limits of District Srinagar,” reads the order signed by Kifayat Hussain Rizvi, Commissioner Secretary Labour and Employment department.
As per the Act, it is mandatory for business establishments and shops to remain closed for at least one day a week. Besides closure on Fridays for Shehr-e-Khaas, the government has also identified other areas that will observe one day in a week as “close day”.
On Sundays, areas like Sonwar, Batwara, Pandarathan, Lasjan, Sempora, Athwajan, Pantha Chowk, Zewan, Balhama, Khonmoh, Nishat to Harwan and Dalgate areas will witness shutdown of all shops and establishments.
Strangely, a good number of gardens fall in many of the above areas. Sunday being the prime business day, the closure of shops and other establishments around these areas on Sundays could possibly hit business and affect hundreds associated directly and indirectly with the gardens.
On Monday, the first working day, the areas where shops and other establishments will have to close their shutters include commercial hub Lal Chowk, Maisuma, Red Cross Road, Hari Singh High Street, Jehangir Chowk, Rambagh Bridge, Battamaloo adda upto Tengpora, Karan Nagar and Rambagh.
The areas where shops and establishments would remain closed on Tuesday are Nowgam, Sanat Nagar, Hyderpora, Peerbagh upto Tengpora Bridge, Chanapora, Barzulla, Natipora, Mehjoor Nagar, Amira Kadal, Bemina and HMT areas of Srinagar.
On Wednesday, areas like Rainawari, Saida Kadal, Zoonimar, Nigeen Dargah, Habbak, Lal Bazar, Zakoora, Illahi Bagh, Buchpora upto Nagbal and Malbagh areas would witness shutdown under the aforementioned Act.
Commissioner Secretary Rizvi told Kashmir Reader that the motive behind the directive is the decongestion of Srinagar traffic. Moreover, he said, there was a writ petition in the High Court seeking streamlining of traffic in the city.
“It was a joint effort between us and the traffic department to streamline traffic in Srinagar,” he said, adding that strict action will be taken against violators.