'Unfair' advisory asking Baramulla shopkeepers aged 6o to stay home evokes criticism

The recent advisory by the district administration here asking the shopkeepers aged 60 or above to stay home and “arrange replacement” for running their business has evoked criticism from the business community.

The shopkeepers termed the advisory as “unfair.” “How can a shopkeeper who is running his business since last three decades and is aged 60 or above close his business merely on the assumption that he has potential to contract coronavirus,” said Muhammad Shafi, who runs a shop on Tehsil Road.

The advisory was issued days after the district administration made it mandatory to conduct COVID19 tests of all service providers including shopkeepers and street vendors.

While terming the advisory and the order contradictory, the traders said the administration has already ordered shopkeepers to undertake COVID test, which will establish if anyone has contracted the infection.

“Then barring a shopkeeper from running the business even if he has tested negative for the virus is totally unjustified,” said another trader Mushtaq Ahmad.

The order was issued on July 2. It reads that in view of prevailing situation due to COVID19 and the resultant deaths, it has been observed that elderly persons of 60 years or more were prone to the virus.

“In view of this all such shopkeepers whose age is 60 years and above are advised to remain in doors and arrange their suitable replacement to run the business. All magistrates shall ensure that the advisory is followed in letter and spirit,” reads the advisory.

General Secretary, Traders Federation Baramulla Tariq Ahmad Mughloo said once the COVID19 test shows a shopkeeper negative for the infection, he cannot be barred from continuing his business.

He said they will take up the matter with Deputy Commissioner (DC), GN Itoo.

The DC said the advisory has been issued in the “larger interest of people.”

“Since people of 60 or above age are more vulnerable to the infection and have potential to contract virus, therefore advisory has been issued in their interest only,” he said.