SRINAGAR: Thirty-one (31) tractors of local brick kiln operators were caught illegally transporting 200 non-local labourers into Kashmir, an official statement said.
An official statement said that the labourers were found hidden in tractors of three brick kiln operators based in a neighbouring district of Srinagar.
The illegal transportation of labourers to escape COVID-19 testing required as per protocol was caught in Srinagar’s Panthachowk tehsil where around-the-clock and robust mechanism has been put in place for ensuring that all those entering Srinagar through road are tested before being allowed in, it said.
Soon upon being informed about it the District Magistrate Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary visited the tehsil where concerned teams had stopped the tractors in question for inspections which found them illegally transporting brick kiln labourers into Kashmir.
The DM ordered on-spot instructions for strict legal action against offenders — directing for seizing of all 31 tractors and imposing a fine of over 3 lac rupees against operators thereof.
It is notable that there are no brick kilns in Srinagar but labourers coming into Kashmir are stopped in Srinagar’s Panthachowk tehsil for undergoing COVID-19 testing and quarantine until their reports come negative before being allowed to proceed to districts where brick kilns exist and operate.
Dr Shahid also passed directions for charging costs of COVID-19 testing of labourers brought in these tractors and that of their food and accommodation while in quarantine on the owners of the said brick kilns. The latter include Syed Manzoor, Ghulam Mohammad Mandoo and Abrar Wani who are all from the Budgam district.
Speaking on the occasion he said it is unfortunate that while Kashmir is reeling under the wrath of the COVID-19 disease some people are adding to the problem rather than helping contain the spread of this dangerous infection.