Facemasks, sanitizers; no handshakes, no crowds | Civil Secretariat opens in Srinagar

The Civil Secretariat opened at Srinagar today as part of Darbar Move, which this year got delayed by almost three months due to COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Secretariat premises, the COVID-19 impact was quite visible with officials ensuring to use sanitizers and facemasks while the gatekeepers were impressing upon others for the same.

Almost everybody could be seen within the Secretariat premises avoiding handshakes. Inside the premises, there was stillness unlike the past when people in hordes would be seen moving in and out.

A former MLA wearing a double mask while entering the Secretariat premises said: “I had to meet an official. There was urgency otherwise I won’t have come here in this pandemic.”

Two visitors, Mohammad Ilyas Khan and Bashir Ahmad Chohan who had come Bremdoab, Rafiabad said, “We had to meet an official in higher education department in connection with a case of compensation. But we are being told that we need to have a pass for our entry into Secretariat. How can we get that pass as we don’t know any official personally here? We don’t know whether we would be allowed in or not.”

“We have spent Rs 2000 on travel to come here. We are ordinary labourers and we cannot afford to go back without meeting the officials,” the duo waiting outside the Secretariat in the afternoon said.

A senior official however told Greater Kashmir that public is being allowed without any hassle. “We are for our people. It is first day. Things will get streamlined within a few days.”