Ganderbal: Ganderbal district administration on Wednesday barred day picnickers from visiting tourist destination Sonamarg for next two weekends in a bid to prevent a possible Covid-19 resurgence. The tourist destination is witnessing a heavy tourist influx at present.
An order in this regard, issued by Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Ganderbal Farooq Ahmed Baba, said that a large number of local tourists were thronging Sonamarg especially on the weekends, which posed danger of resurgence of pandemic in view of possible violation of Covid appropriate behaviour.
It said, “Sub-Divisional Magistrate Kangan has also reported that unrestricted and unabated influx of tourists and day picnickers to Sonamarg may seriously undermine Covid-19 mitigation efforts put in place by the administration.”
The ADC Ganderbal, while invoking Section 144 of the CrPC 1973, Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 ordered, “On July 17-18 and July 24-25, 2021 only those visitors, who possess proof of confirmed hotel bookings at Sonamarg shall be allowed to proceed towards the tourist destination.”
“No day picnickers shall be allowed to visit Sonamarg on these dates. CEO Sonamarg Development Authority shall conduct an awareness programme for all hoteliers, so that they are sensitized to adopt Covid appropriate behaviour,” the order further read. As per the order, SDPO Kangan and DySP Traffic Ganderbal will establish nakas at Kangan, Gund and Gagangeer so as to allow only Kargil traffic and bona fide people with proof of advance hotel booking to move towards Sonamarg.
"Any violation of the directions will, therefore, lead to prosecution under Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Senior Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, SDM Kangan and SDPO Kangan shall ensure implementation of this order in letter and spirit," the order further read.
The tourist destination Pahalgam in South Kashmir was also closed for day picnickers by district administration Anantnag on June 30, in view of their heavy rush posing a risk of Covid-19 resurgence.