The social distancing and other COVID-19 SoPs were flagrantly violated during the free ration distribution among the consumers by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) department.
Long queues and chaotic scenes were witnessed at ration stores in Srinagar as people rushed to these stores to get the ration, least caring about covid19 guidelines.
"The stores may soon become super spreaders of the virus as the department is distributing ration without ensuring adherence to COVID-19 SoPs," said Muhammad Arif of Srinagar.
Notably, instructions were issued by the district administration Srinagar to the officials of FCSCA department to ensure crowd free distribution of ration.
The TSOs and other officials concerned were asked to ensure that COVID-19 SOPs and guidelines were followed strictly at ration stores for the safety of all visiting these stores.
"Unfortunately no such precautionary measure was taken by the officials of the FCSCA department at the ration stores. People were made vulnerable to the deadly virus as no proper mechanism was in place to avoid crowds," Arif said.
The department was supposed to devise an effective mechanism to avoid crowd at the stores, he said.
Last year, the department had ensured distribution of the ration Mohalla-wise to avoid crowd, said Yaseen Ahmad of Srinagar, adding that this year "no care was taken to ensure observance of covid19 guidelines".
The department is distributing 4 kilograms of rice and 250 gram of flour per family member. "At some places we have a shortage of flour but 4 kilogram rice is being distributed free," an official said.
Director FCSCA department, Abdul Salam Mir told Greater Kashmir that they have repeatedly appealed to the public to take care of their lives and follow all COVID-19 SoPs while visiting ration stores. "But people do not cooperate and they throng the ration depots haphazardly which creates chaos. We are helpless as we cannot control the rush. We need the assistance of police to avoid crowds at the stores," he said.
When asked that last year the ration was distributed by the department as per Mohalla-wise schedule, he said the matter will be discussed in the department. "I will talk to my officers and we will try our best to reduce the crowd," he said.