Markets, public transport open in Srinagar from today

Pic: Mubashir Khan/GK

Markets will reopen and public transport services resume under regulated schedule from Monday in Srinagar.

As per an official order issued here, District Magistrate Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has lifted restrictions on business and transport operations in Srinagar allowing a regulated resumption thereof.

This decision has been taken “after careful consideration of different aspects of the situation as it exists in the district,” an official handout said.

It is notable that restrictions on business among other activities and operations in the district have been in place for around five months now, with just a limited relaxation permitted during the month-long unlock period before restrictions had to be re-imposed.

The directive issued pursuant to the state executive committee order dated 04.08.2020 permits “reopening of 50 percent shops in all markets on all days except Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm and resumption of public transport operations with a boarding of 50 percent passengers in minibuses and up to a maximum of 4 passengers in 10-seater maxi-cabs and 2 passengers in taxicabs and auto-rickshaws (each).”

As per the order, in all markets, alternate shops will open so as to prevent crowding and to enable queuing of customers as per the advised distancing norm. “Market associations will decide the roster and ensure strict implementation thereof. The decision in this regard follows consultations with traders’ bodies and market associations of the district.”

Speaking in reference to it, the DM as per the statement said: “The district administration has full faith in the business and trading communities of the district and is sure that there will be strict compliance with all SOPs and guidelines like wearing of facemasks and observance of distancing while going about their businesses.”

“The instructions for resumption of public transport service,” as per the order, “include a plan for the number of vehicles which will be allowed to operate on designated routes in the district. To reduce footprint, not more than a third of the total number of vehicles will be allowed to operate on a route.” It is notable that there are around 80 designated public transport routes in Srinagar.

The markets will reopen after the ongoing second lockdown enforced last month after a one-month-long unlock period whereas the public transport service will resume operations for the first time since March when restrictions thereon were imposed following outbreak of COVID-19 in J&K.

Authorities concerned have been authorised to take strict action against instances of non-compliance with instructions as issued under the order or violations of preventive guidelines and SOPs the government has devised in efforts to reduce spread of COVID-19, the statement said.

Meanwhile, places of worship in Srinagar reopened today after remaining closed as a preventive measure as part of the government’s larger efforts at containing spread of COVID-19 since March.

“To ensure strict compliance with SOPs and guidelines the government has devised in consultation with health experts, the district administration has reached out to managing committees of places of worship of all faiths and sensitised them about dos and don’ts to prevent spread of COVID-19.”