Complaints of baby food shortage, medicines from curfew bound areas
With no let-up in restrictions imposed by the authorities, the Kashmir valley is grappling with shortage of essentials as people in curfew-bound areas are finding difficult to get baby food, medicines and even food items at certain places.
Baby food, medicines like insulin, food items and some other essential supplies have dried up have dried up across Kashmir division due to prolonged curfew and restriction which have entered 12th day today after the killing of Hizb Commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
This reporter visited the Srinagar’s old city where curbs and restrictions have taken heavy toll on the people, as they are finding difficult to purchase essentials while many have run short of money due to closure of banks and ATMs.
“Everything is closed, the government has not announced any relaxation in curfew from last 12 days, people are short of food items, even medical shops are not allowed to open,” said an elderly resident from Gojwara neighbourhood, wishing not to be named.
Curbs and restriction by authorities on intra-district connectivity has further compounded problems as dealers are not able to transport supply of food items, vegetables and other items from one place to another.
Reports from various districts under curfew across Kashmir revealed that people are facing shortage of essential commodities while the refusal of authorities to lift curfew has compounded their problems as medical shops are also not allowed to operate.
Patients and infants have been badly impacted by the restrictions as there is acute shortage of medicines and baby food due to prolonged closure of shops.
“For last 5 days, I could not feed my child Lactogen and Cerelac (baby milk brand names) which he used to have earlier. Neither, I have any other supplement available to feed my baby” said Zahida, a mother of two year old.
She hopes that the curfew is lifted soon so that she could buy baby milk for her child.
Problems of people in curfew bound areas are further compounded by the non-availability of medicines, as thousands of patients have been denied access to their prescribed drugs due to the strict curfew and strike calls given by Separatists.
“I had to admit my mother at SKIMS, Soura, as her sugar shot up due to unavailability of insulin shots,” said Manzoor Ahmad who after many difficulties had bought her mother to this tertiary care hospital for treatment.
While the lack of baby food and medicines has created problems in the Valley, the situation due to non-availability of food items has turned it into a crisis at many places.
People also complain shortage of milk and breads supplies. Irshad Ahmad, a resident of old City said: “We were not allowed to purchase bread in the morning. Security personnel ran after us and told us not to venture out of our houses till curfew is in place.”
“They are even not allowing patients to move out. There are many patients who have run short of medicines. There is also shortage of baby food items as many families have run short of it,” he said.
Locals in some curfew bound areas allege that milkmen and vegetable vendors from outside are not allowed to venture into the areas under curfew.
Complaints of fuel shortage including petrol and cooking gas has been also received by this reporter from some areas.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Minister of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Chowdhary Zulfikar Ali said that the government despite curbs and protests has distributed around 60 percent of the allocated food grains for this month in various places across Kashmir.
“We have ordered opening of ration ghats so that the food grains are distributed among people in the Valley,” Chowdhary said adding that the government is working hard to ensure supply of the essentials.
“We have LPG, Petroleum stock available for 21 days in Kashmir,” the minister said adding that the LPG and petroleum is being supplied during evening hours as “it is difficult to transport combustible products during day time.”
He said that the government has ordered petroleum dealers to open their outlets in the evenings from 8 Pm to 12 Pm in the evening.