COVID-19: DM Srinagar orders extension of restrictions, allows of easing of lockdown as per SEC guidelines

SRINAGAR: District Magistrate Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has ordered the extension of restrictions while allowing a degree of easing of lockdown imposed in view of COVID-19 pandemic in the district.

The restrictions have been extended up to June 8. Issued under Section 144 of CrPC the order states that the extension in restrictions has been ordered in view of the situation that still exists due to the pandemic in the district adding that the decision has been taken in light of suggestions from experts from medical care and healthcare.

The order extending the restrictions while permitting a level of easing of the lockdown is in line with the new lockdown order and guidelines issued thereunder that the J&K State Executive Committee (SEC) issued on May 31.

It permits operation of activities and establishments associated with various essential services across the district while laying down a method for it and a standard operating procedure to ensure safe running.

The activities and establishments allowed to operate with limited capacities and in limited numbers from June 1 include those dealing in handlooms and handicrafts, animal husbandry and fisheries, forestry and sericulture, agriculture and horticulture, e-commerce and courier, finance and insurance, banking and industry, IT and ITES companies, private hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic laboratories, repair workshops and self-employed mechanics, milk and dairy shops, groceries and bakeries, fruit and vegetable shops, mutton and poultry shops, self-help groups, selection processes, and marriages.

These services have different stipulations from one another and adherence to the latter is an important condition of running an operation in each case. In each market for instance only 30 percent of groceries, bakeries and fruit and vegetable shops and only 2 shops of mutton and poultry dealers will be allowed to operate. The full details of stipulations are given in the order — which has been publicised and circulated through the media. The order is available online on the website of the Srinagar district administration.

Each one of these operations and all those involved or associated with it will be obligated to ensure adherence to social distancing and other notified guidelines aimed at preventing spread of the COVID-19 disease. The order states that those found violating these guidelines will be fined 1000 rupees per violation and also booked for it under the law.

Developmental works having been put on hold have also been authorised for resumption with the DM having permitted and asked the concerned departments to restart execution on them forthwith across the district.

Meanwhile, the District Disaster Management Authority or DDMA under powers under the disaster management act 2005 has ordered that persons violating the April 29 order directing for mandatory wearing of face masks at all public and workplaces and places of shopping in Srinagar will be fined 500 rupees.

Both the orders directing for imposing fines for non-compliance with social distancing among other notified guidelines and violating the order for wearing face masks will remain applicable till June 30.

It is notable that the Srinagar administration has been holding regular periodic reviews of the overall situation due to COVID-19 in the district. Following sustained and successful containment efforts over the last two-three months the administration last week held multiple consultations with experts seeking their suggestions as to whether and how lockdown should be eased. Meetings in this regard were also held with trade bodies to give and take advice.

The easing of lockdown while restrictions continue to remain in force in the district is in fair measure a result of these consultations — in which there was a clear consensus that all measures and precautions as due will have to be taken to prevent the spread of this disease and that therefore lifting of the lockdown will have to be a gradual process and a calculated affair requiring cooperation and support from all members of the public.

Speaking about the order the DM said that another review will be held in a week from now adding that a decision will be taken on whether further relaxations in the operation of services can be allowed.

In the meantime, as he said any violations of instructions as given in today’s order will attract strict proceedings and action under Section 188 of IPC and Section 51 of DMA.

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