SRINAGAR: After a corona lockdown of nearly one month, life on the streets returned on Monday in most parts of Kashmir Valley, though with cautious and thin movement of people and public transport on the roads and only partial business activity in markets.
As Monday morning arrived, shopkeepers opened their shutters in every nook and cranny of Srinagar according to the roster assigned by the administration. Though there was limited business activity, the start of normal life, which had come to a halt partially in April and then completely in the first week of May, brought joy among people.
“I have not had a single customer all day. On normal days I would get at least 30 customers. There was no business activity today but it was a big relief from the mental stress,” said Basharat, owner of a retail textile shop at Sarai Bala in Amira Kadal. Sarai Bala is the hub of wholesale and retail fabric in Kashmir Valley.
“Unquestionably, we have faced losses. Our merchandise remains unsold. We have families to feed, pay our employees, pay the rent of our shops and other expenses. The reopening will allow us to take stock of our merchandise. It is a relief,” he added.
All educational institutions, however, including private coaching centres, and cinema halls, multiplexes, clubs, gyms, spas and public parks still remain closed in Kashmir.
For transporters, it was still a tough day because there were very few willing to take a ride on public transport. This was despite there being no more the requirement of permission/passes for public movement. But it is expected that travelling will gain currency in the coming days.
The easing of restrictions was decided on Sunday by the Jammu and Kashmir Government for daytime on weekdays. As per the guidelines issued, weekend curfew as well as night curfew from 8 pm to 7 am daily will remain imposed in all 20 districts in JK till June 15.
The decision was taken after the positivity rate fell to 6.2 percent from 13 percent and the daily Covid-19 caseload came down from an all-time high of 5,500 to 2,200 in the past two weeks.
However, Pulwama, Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam and Kupwara districts are still in Red Zone, while the other half — Srinagar, Shopian, Ganderbal, Kulgam and Bandipora — belong to the Orange category. The status of the lockdown will depend upon the Covid cases and mortalities that are reported each day.