Srinagar: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) on Saturday said that re-imposing a lockdown will not serve any purpose and the government should instead enforce restrictions already in place to contain Covid-19 in Kashmir.
The trade body’s statement comes on the heels of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, PK Pole telling a local news agency that there have been “demands” to re-impose lockdown in view of rising coronavirus infections in Kashmir.
Nasir Hamid Khan, Senior Vice President of KCCI, told Kashmir Reader that a fresh lockdown would have an adverse impact on the Kashmir economy, which has already been devastated due to a prolonged lockdown that began in August last year.
Khan questioned the logic behind re-imposing a fresh lockdown given that there have been no instances of markets or business establishments emerging as Covid hotspots.
“There has not been much rush of people in the markets, either. The new cases have nothing to with business activities,” Khan said.
He said that business establishments were by and large following the government guidelines. “Markets are following the standard operating procedure and we are satisfied with it. The precautions are reasonable given the situation,” he said.
Khan suggested that the restrictions already in place be enforced better rather than re-imposing a lockdown.
On June 13, the district administration Srinagar allowed businesses to open on a rotation basis and during a particular time of the day only.
Khan asked the Srinagar administration to put a curb on “unnecessary movement of people”, in particular the youth.
He suggested identifying particular sections of the society that are casual about following precautionary measures.
“It is the people at the end of the day who have to follow, and enforce, the precautionary measures. You have to take responsibility as an individual,” he said.
On the statement of the Divisional Commissioner that there have been “demands” to re-impose lockdown, Khan said that it was “just a knee-jerk reaction without understanding the facts”.
“If a trader doesn’t die of Covid-19, hunger will kill him for sure. You have to balance things,” the KCCI vice president said.
President of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association (KTMF), Yasin Khan, said that the government was “duty-bound to help the business sector, as we collect taxes on their behalf”.
“But if health experts and the government feel that there is a need to re-impose the lockdown, we will support the move,” he said.