Srinagar: Ahead of the 84-hour lockdown across 11 districts of J&K, people in Srinagar city and other parts of the valley on Thursday resorted to panic buying of grocery and other items besides queuing up at fuel stations.
On Wednesday, the J&K government announced lockdown in eleven districts of Jammu and Kashmir from Thursday evening till Monday morning. The 84-hour lockdown, as per the order, will be implemented from 7 PM of Thursday till 7 AM of Monday. Among the eleven districts, 7 districts are in Kashmir and 4 are in Jammu.
The news of the impending lockdown made people throng to marketplaces across Srinagar on Thursday to buy essential including grocery and other eatables. The business hub Lal Chowk and its adjoining Amira Kadal remained abuzz with customers throughout the day with street vendors acting as the prime attraction. Only half of the number of shops, though, were open as per the routine since past few days due to restrictions imposed by the government.
Similar was the situation in other parts of valley as the people were seen in a hurry to buy different food items in order to avoid any dearth of supplies. Till evening, the people were seen engaged in buying different items especially dates and other delicacies attached with the month of Ramadan.
In Srinagar city and elsewhere, long queues of motorists were seen outside fuel stations waiting for their turn to refill the fuel-tanks of their vehicles. “My vehicle was running low on fuel. After the lockdown was announced last evening, the first thing I decided to do today was to refill its fuel tank. At the petrol pump, it took me only five minutes to get my turn. Then straight away I went to buy all the essentials,” Fayaz Ahmad, a resident of Anantnag, told Kashmir Reader.
For the past few weeks, Kashmir valley is under the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic which has pushed the daily tally to new heights while the fatality count also follows an upward trend. On Tuesday, the J&K recorded the highest single-day spike of 3164 positive cases.
The J&K government so far has imposed night curfew across all districts of Jammu and Kashmir and shut down all educational institutions besides imposing restrictions on trade and transport with the curtailment of 50% activity on a rotational basis.
This huge spike in cases, over past few weeks, has left a sense of fear and concern across the Kashmir valley with people restricting themselves largely to homes and venturing out only if necessary. The traders’ body, too, is acting in tandem with the administration.
Muhammad Yaseen, President Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), told Kashmir Reader that the imposition of lockdown was a welcome move as it will help save lives and prevent people from falling prey to the virus. “Life is more important than business. Business can wait, but life is priceless. We’re helpless before the situation. The lockdown is challenging for the business community of Kashmir which is already in losses and under huge debts. But, we can do nothing, other than to prioritise safety of our lives and of people and keep the business in limbo,” Yaseen said.
“The government hasn’t taken us onboard before considering the imposition of lockdown. Yet, earlier, we were called to seek suggestions for the facilitation of business activities keeping in view the spike in Covid-19. At this time, we need suggestions from the doctors and experts about the measures to be taken in this alarming situation,” Yaseen added.