Violation of COVID SOPs in Srinagar markets goes unabated

A man walks out from the ice-cream parlour during partial unlocking of markets in Srinagar. [File]
A man walks out from the ice-cream parlour during partial unlocking of markets in Srinagar. [File]GK Photo

Srinagar: With the sharp increase in COVID19 cases, the Srinagar district administration has mobilised teams to check adherence to COVID protocols but the presence of officials is limited to the city centre.

Traders and inhabitants of old Srinagar and the outskirts of the city have complained that their areas “are being neglected by the authorities for the imposition of COVID SOPs.”

The residents and trade bodies of old Srinagar have said that the focus of the administration is mostly the central business district or the city centre, while COVID protocols in the rest of the city are not being enforced.

Ayaz Zehgeer from the old city’s Beopar Mandal said that there is “negligible adherence to COVID SOPs in the Shahe-e-Khaas areas.” He said despite being the hub of trade activity, there is a huge rush of people with less regard to COVID appropriate behaviour.

“It is unfortunate that the old city is being neglected when it comes to COVID SOPs. There is hardly any adherence to wearing of masks, social distancing,” Zehgeer said.

Commuters in the Srinagar outskirts of Hazratbal said that COVID SOPs are not followed by people in marketplaces, restaurants, public transport and other public places. They said due to the negligible presence of enforcement teams in the outskirts, the people are not following SOPs.

“I am a regular traveller to Lal Chowk from Hazratbal. Despite the increase in cases people are not bothering to follow the SOPs. If you check any cab, there are hardly any passengers wearing masks. They put on masks only in Lal Chowk because there are measures taken by the administration to make people follow the SOPs. We hope teams will be pressed into action by the administration in Srinagar outskirts so that in busy markets of Dargah Hazratbal and in public transport, all the SOPs will be followed,” said Rafiq Ahmed, a resident of Habak area.

When contacted, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Syed Hanief Balkhi said that enforcement teams will be deputed in old Srinagar and city outskirts to make people aware of the pandemic and also ensure that they adhere to COVID SOPs.

“We have already taken a host of measures and deployed teams in various places in Srinagar so that COVID protocols will be followed. We will make sure to depute our officers and will push for more measures in Srinagar outskirts and downtown as well,” Balkhi said.

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