People shun stay-at-home precaution, Srinagar markets open with abandon

Srinagar: The rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths seems to be no longer a matter of concern for people in Kashmir, which may prove to be a complacency quite dangerous in the coming weeks.
At city centre Lal Chowk, where the precautionary measures should be iron strong, most of the daily business has resumed with all caution thrown to the winds.
On Thursday, the entire market of Regal Lane was open, even though the government orders are to open shops on alternate days. Garment showrooms, saloons, and most other shops were open for trade. That the administration had fined many shops only a day ago, for breaching the standard operating procedure for Covid control, caused no deterrence.
Markets in the downtown including the old Zaina Kadal market also remain open every day as routine, defying orders in broad daylight.
“The government’s control over the disease is meaningless. We saw what they did in three months of lockdown. It is better for us to resume life. There is no guarantee that we won’t contract the virus if we stay at home, so we’d rather be at our shop. The probability of contracting the infection may vary, but I am ready to face it,” said Gulzar Ahmad, a wholesaler of dry fruits in Zaina Kadal.
“The government must change its strategy. Let the people fight it in their own way now,” he added.
Every day there has been increased movement of street vendors in the city. They go into hiding if anybody comes to inspect them, but as soon as the danger is gone, they return to their location again.
Some public transport, too, is now seen in many areas. The government’s offering to transport operators of Rs 1,000 a month and free ration has not sufficed for their needs.
“We have medicines to buy, school fee of our children to pay. Nobody took care of us in the past, no one will in the future. We have to stand on our own,” said Bilal Ahmad, who drives a Sumo can on the Rainawari-Lal Chowk route. For the past three months Bilal has not received any financial help from the government; it has been only local charitable groups that have kept his family alive, he said.
Since March 18, when the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Kashmir, the death toll has reached nearly 150, with youngsters now dying too. On a daily basis hundreds of new cases are being detected. The J&K Bank’s corporate headquarters has shut a number of its departments for two days after 27 of its employees were found to be Covid positive, a senior official of the bank told Kashmir Reader. A senior doctor is also battling for life at SKIMS after he was declared Covid positive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.