SRINAGAR: Hundreds of labourers, besides a sizable number of beggars, have begun to arrive in valley amid the threat of coronavirus, raising panic among the locals. Reports received by CNS from various areas of valley have indicated that amid the coronavirus outbreak threat , hundreds of nonlocal labourers, including beggars, are arriving here in large numbers, given to change in weather Locals from various areas in south Kashmir have alleged that the non-locals are being allowed in without screening, which could result in disaster.
While the administration has said that screening points for incoming passengers coming from outside the valley have been put up at the entry points to the valley, bus loads of no-locals have been seen arriving over a couple of weeks, who have by now scattered in different parts of the valley, allegedly many among them have been allowed in without proper screening.
Several of these non-locals, after identifying free spaces, have already put up tents in various areas of valley and have begun their activities for livelihood, while mixing with the local population. Several such inhabitations of nonlocals have come up from south to north along the highway. Meanwhile, beggars are seen begging at the various crossing of the city, mainly at Bemina, Hyderpora, Sant Nagar and Nowgam crossings. Some are also selling various items, including wet coconuts at these locations, which could prove disastrous and threat to public health, if anyone among them is a carrier of infection.
Ghulam Rasool Rather, a resident from Chandrigam Tral said that hundreds of non-local labourers have arrived in their village without having been screened. He said, “We asked them (labourers) whether they were screened for coronavirus, before entering the valley, they replied in negative.” “Isn’t it callous and irresponsible on the part of authorities to allow such a huge number of no-locals, without being screened, when the whole world is reeling under the risk of a pandemic?”, he asked.
When contacted Deputy Director Health Kashmir division, Dr Bashir Ahmed Chalkoo, rejected the allegation saying that the department has put two screening points on Jammu-Srinagar Highway, one at Jawahar Tunnel and another in Lower Munda and incoming passengers from outside are being properly screened, under the norms laid down for screening. Reports of panic due to the arrival of non-locals in large numbers have also come from various parts of the valley, who have demanded proper screening of the incoming non-locals to deal with the emerging risk of a pandemic.