‘People roaming freely without adhering to any guidelines’
Srinagar: Despite hefty fine collection every day by the administration, there seems to be utter disregard among common masses for COVID-19 guidelines, including maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, in Kashmir valley.
Meanwhile, all educations institutes — including schools, colleges and universities — and worship places remained closed since May this year even as political rallies and government functions are being held with good number of participants without wearing masks and keeping social distancing.
Majority of the people could be seen roaming around without wearing masks in the summer capital, Srinagar, and other parts of Kashmir valley, where less than 5 per cent of the population is adhering to COVID Appropriate Behaviour.
The situation is also grim in tourist places — including world famous resorts of Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Doodhpathri — where locals and tourists could be seen in large numbers without any regards to COVID-19 guidelines.
The administration last week extended the suspension of classwork in all educational institutes — including schools, colleges, and universities — till further order in the Union Territory. Even though educational institutes are holding online classes, students from economically weaker section allege that they are unable to attend the sessions due to non-availability of smart phones. Meanwhile, community classes at educational institutions in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, which were started by administration, were on Monday again suspended for two weeks in view of a spike in daily COVID-19 infections.
However, people alleged that the duel policy adopted by administration is confusing as on one hand it has extended the suspension of class work for educations institutes, closed worship places and on the other hand tourists resort are open and the administration is holding functions and sports tournaments in the valley. “If the government is concerned that COVID-19 could spread if the educational institutes and worship places are reopened, it should also stop holding functions with large gatherings as they too can lead to spread of the virus,” Rameez Khan, a resident of Srinagar, said.
“If you go to any tourist resort in week days or weekends, you will see most of the people roaming around without adhering to any COVID guidelines,” he added.
Similar views were expressed from people from other parts of the valley.
Officials said that police on an average collects a fine of around 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh per day from people who violate COVID-19 guidelines in Kashmir valley. But, they said that imposition of fine is not giving the desire results as people are still violating the COVID-19 guidelines.
They said the situation is worrisome as there is prediction of a possible third wave hitting the country between September and October. J&K currently has only 1078 active positive COVID-19 cases.
An expert panel, set up by an institute under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has predicted third wave of COVID-19 pandemic hitting the country anytime between September and October. “Children will have a similar risk as adults since paediatric facilities, doctors and equipment like ventilators and ambulances are nowhere close to what may be required in case a large number of children become infected,” the panel added. (UNI)