ANANTNAG: Non-local labourers and visitors are bypassing the screening point for coronavirus at Lower Munda, local residents and civil society members have alleged. They have demanded that the screening point be relocated to Jawahar Tunnel to ensure that no one can bypass it.
Locals said that non-local labourers and passengers are taking the Omoh-Verinag hilly route just after crossing Jawahar Tunnel to enter Kashmir. Though the route has been closed and barricades erected on it, the non-locals arrange a vehicle on the other side of barricades and walk up to there on foot, locals said.
People residing in areas near the screening point, such as Verinag and Dooru, said they have seen movement of non-local labourers and passengers through their area in the past few days, due to which they have raised an alarm and demanded relocation of the screening point.
After the first positive COVID-19 case was reported in Kashmir valley, fear has gripped people and they’re worried at the arrival of non-locals in the valley without screening.
Some days ago, the Greater Verinag Civil Society, an NGO, had sent a letter to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, and other senior officers for relocation of the COVID-19 screening point.
People residing in nearby areas said they have also requested the authorities to relocate the screening point to Jawahar Tunnel, or at least set up a checking point on the alternate route
“The passengers regularly bypass the screening point. We have been observing movement of non-local labourers and passengers through our local roads, and this is really frightening”, said Mushtaq Ahmad, a local.
Another local, Shahbaz Lone, said, “It is a concern for all of us that passengers are entering unscreened. I, too, have seen non-local labourers with my own eyes.”
Deputy Commissioner Ananatnag Bashir Ahmad Dar told Kashmir Reader that “it is also the responsibility of locals to stop and restrict any untoward movement. They should immediately call police authorities. We have also set up a second screening facility at Ujroo, Qazigund, and have further strengthened the screening operations.”
“I will direct police authorities to keep check at the alternate route, and continuously monitor the bypass juncture on the highway through Omoh route, round the clock,” Dar assured.
He further appealed to the general public to cooperate with the administration, and report any suspicious movement to the police.