by Tasavur Mushtaq
SRINAGAR: In line with the measures to deal with the possible issues after the easing of restrictions, district administration Srinagar is working on multiple fronts. The major being the capacity building and training of the service delivery sector for imparting Covid prevention protocols and mandatory measures to be put in place, before permitting their operations.
Done in a phased manner from the last two weeks, the district administration on Saturday led by Deputy Commissioner Dr Shahid Choudhary launched the capacity building and training of staff drawn from restaurants across the city. The camp was held at Tagore Hall.
The drive officials say is part of a sustained effort to help people remain safe amid resuming their normal routine. This, they say is an attempt to solicit the cooperation of people and sharing the responsibility with the community. “Continuing the restriction is not a solution. We have to learn to live with it and take responsibility as a society,” Syed Sajjad Qadri, Additional District Magistrate, Srinagar told Kashmir Life.
“We are now handing over the baton to the people and believe they have a huge role to play,” added Qadri.
Talking to Kashmir Life, an official privy to the initiatives being taken at the district level said the numbers would increase in the coming days. “There is a reason, first the administration is doing aggressive testing right now. Second, people have now started coming out. What is required now is a balance of everything,” he said wishing anonymity.
Accessing the requirements, the administration, officials said has adopted a strategy to be rolled out in a phased manner. The primary focus has been the sectors where people interact more frequently. “We have adopted a strategy to deal with sectors wherever there is more interaction with people. Sectors like grocery shops, vegetable sellers, bakery shops, restaurants, cafes, NGO’s and other related activities,” said a senior district officer.
Giving details of the modus operandi, Qadri said the administration sought a list of people working in these sectors from the representatives and there was random sampling. “We got the list from the representatives to know the people who are working,” he said adding “random testing was done in Parimpora fruit complex early in the morning and around 200 samples were taken. Thankfully all are negative.”
This, he said has given them confidence that people supplying vegetables are Covid free at least for now. “As on date, we are confident that those selling vegetables are negative, at least for some time say 15 days.”
The administration has also carried out 500 tests for people related to bakery and confectionery. “We did testing of bakers, cooks, home delivery boys at Sheri Kashmir park and TRC,” said an official.
The protocol suggests that those who test negative would be allowed to open their operations and the ones who test positive would continue to face the ban. “We will allow bakery units who would be negative and positive units would be suspended,” said Qadri adding. “This way we would be confident that whatever we are selling and whatever these units are talking to the market is Covid free.”
In the next phases, the administration intends to get take away operational and also see the opening of courier services, operations of volunteer organisations and other related affairs.
Talking to stakeholders, Dr Shahid Saturday insisted to be ambassadors and reach out to the people with their products, services, and a message. “We were holding everything. Trying to control people, control situation, but the time has come now when you have to take the responsibility also,” he said to the gathering at Tagore hall. He also urged them to be cautious. “Don’t deliver your products to people without masks. Send a message that not wearing a mask is being careless and we are not going to deliver.”
During the session which lasted for around four hours, the administration managed to get 250 samples. “We have to live with it. This is now a way of life. We seek the cooperation of the people. They are feeling complacent now after following the instructions from the last three months” he said adding “They have started taking things for granted. We should be very cautious even now.”
Qadri has a word of advice, “on one day or another we have to come to the terms. We cannot close everything for all the times to come.
The permission to operate for restaurants, cafes, and eateries would be granted after two days when the reports would be received.
Let us make it part of life said Qadri. “We need to inculcate the habit of social distancing, use of masks, avoiding crowd, sanitise hands,” he said adding “Administration shares the responsibility with people and expect them to behave to fight this battle more efficiently.”