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Spurt in COVID cases: Admin 'enforces' 50 % opening of shops in Srinagar

Traders oppose move, say it’s a surprising decision, not taken on board

Mubashir Aalam Wani

Srinagar, Apr 21 (KNO): In a bid to combat the deadly pandemic, the district administration Srinagar on Wednesday enforced 50 per cent opening of shops in the markets and other places across the district. However, the traders objected to the move, saying that the government should rather go for a shutdown on a rotational basis and that too after taking them on board.

Pertinently, Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir has recorded sharp increase in the number of daily COVID-19 positive cases from past over two weeks, thus forcing the administration to take a series of measures to contain the virus from spreading.

In one such measure, the administration today enforced 50 per cent opening of shops with officials stating that the shops and business establishments will remain open on a rotational basis.

“Markets having shops on both sides of the road will remain open on a rotation basis on a particular day while markets having shops on one side of the road will remain open on an odd-even basis,” Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar had said in an order yesterday. Besides, the public transport shall as per the order be permitted to ply only at 50 per cent of authorized seating capacity.

However, the traders’ community expressed resentment against the order, saying that the decision will not help contain virus. They also complaint that they have not been taken on board before announcing the new decision.

While talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) Noorudin, a shopkeeper from Lal Chowk said: “we can’t follow the opening of markets on rotation. Instead we can open shops on alternate days.”

Farooq Ahmed, another shopkeeper from Lalchowk said “ There is no benefit of this kind of rotational lockdown. Administration should impose area wise lockdown like one day for uptown and one day for downtown areas as that is a better option “.

President Traders Federation Kashmir Muhammad Yaseen Khan said: “ It is a surprising decision taken by authorities as nobody from association was taken on board. Administration should talk to traders first before imposing any Restrictions on traders.”—(KNO)
COVID-19 Spike: Ladakh reports 1791 cases, 2 deaths in 10 days

'Leh most affected with positivity rate'

Leh, Apr 21 (KNO): Amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the Union Territory of Ladakh is witnessing a regular spike in positive cases forcing authorities to order the closure of educational institutions besides reducing the gathering and transport seating capacity to 50 per cent to contain the spread.

Comprising two districts Leh and Kargil, in Ladakh Leh is the most affected with the infection positivity rate, and several cases have been registered against the violators.

Top health officials told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), there is a huge surge of COVID-19 cases in Ladakh with Leh district most affected having a total of 1730 active positive cases while only 82 in Kargil.

He said that last week the UT reported a total of 944 cases in just six days with 12 containment zones in leh besides a death.

The official said that in past ten days a total of 1791 positive cases have been reported in Ladakh of which the majority belong to Leh and two deaths from the same district.

As reported earlier by KNO with 944 cases in six days (Last week). "Ladakh reported a total of 847 cases in just four days between Saturday to Wednesday besides two deaths of which 813 positive cases are from Leh alone", the official said.

He said that several measures have been taken to contain the spread of infection across the region and negative RTPCR has been made mandatory for all those coming to Ladakh not older than 96 hours.

The official said that around 16 FIRs have been registered against the COVID-19 protocol violators by police in Leh and teams have been constituted to ensure there are no violations in public places and the required behavior is maintained.

Special Enforcement Squads (SESs) a day back recovered around 16, 000 rupees as fine from the Covid-19 violators in Leh, he said.

An official said that Ladakh has reported a total of 12556 cases of which 2274 from Kargil and 10282 in Leh with an 85 per cent recovery rate of which 8462 (82%) belong to Leh and 2148 (94%) recovered cases belong to Kargil taking to total toll to 10610 (85%)—(KNO)
Dir Health conducts extensive tour of South Kashmir

‘Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam hospitals to have high capacity oxygen generation plants soon’

Srinagar, Apr 21 (KNO): Director Health Services, Kashmir (DHSK) Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Rather on Wednesday visited District Hospital Pulwama and took stock of oxygen generation plant there.

The plant in DH Pulwama, which is currently supplying 300 LPM shall be generating 1300 LPM shortly, reads a statement issued to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

He visited the construction site of the oxygen generation plant and directed the executing agency to expedite the work on war footing basis so that the plant is functional in stipulated time.

Director inaugurated the high end biomedical equipment recently supplied by JKMSCL to DH Pulwama. The director also took stock of the high end medical equipment supplied by the World Bank to the hospital.

DHSK then visited DH Shopian wherein he took stock of 1000 LPM oxygen generation plant site and laid stress on the executing agency to finish the task soon. He also inaugurated 8 bedded dialysis center at DH Shopian.

The human resources designated for the dialysis center are currently undergoing training in SMHS and shall be joining back soon to make the center functional.

Later, he visited the PHC Turku vaccination center wherein he interacted with the health care workers and laid stress on the staff to enhance awareness activities & the vaccination target.

After completing Shopian visit, DHSK inspected DH Kulgam and took stock of covid preparedness there. The district health administration apprised the DHSK about the status of arrangements and plans devised to tackle covid resurgence. The oxygen generation capacity of DH Kulgam shall be increased from 300 LPM to 2000 LPM soon.

DHSK completed his extensive tour by inspecting Trauma Hospital Bijbehara (designated as a dedicated covid hospital), SDH Bijbehara, Anantnag & SDH Pampore. He took stock of covid and non covid preparedness and directed the administration to ensure smooth functioning of the health care services.

Pertinently in order to manage effectively covid resurgence crisis, DHSK had earlier constituted a task force with a mandate to ensure that oxygen plants across all major peripheral hospitals of Kashmir Division are installed in the set time frame.

In that context work pertaining to JLNM Hospital Srinagar, SDH Sopore and DH Pulwama have completed and are functional or in the process of getting functional by the end of this month. The executing agencies have assured DHSK that the remaining plants shall be made functional in the shortest possible time. This shall play a vital role in treating covid high risk patients and lessening of burden on tertiary care covid hospitals.

In order to expedite smooth functioning of Covid & Non Covid health care services the director interacted with administrators and public of all the four districts. He gave detailed directions to all district administrations regarding well devised segregation of covid & non covid health care services. He gave on spot directions to earmark the facilities and submit the action plan to the directorate for any assistance.

Director also gave instructions to the district health administrations to put in place the mechanism of effective management of emergency & elective non covid patients. The Director appreciated the facilities, logistics in place for the management & mitigation of resurgence of COVID 19 pandemic in the districts he visited today.

Applauding the administrators and health care workers, DHSK laid focus on the need to continue the enormous efforts put by staff in tackling covid crisis. He laid stress on to work with same zeal keeping the covid resurgence into consideration—(KNO)
*KU north campus students protest, seek online exams*

*Say can’t share space with COVID positive students, faculty members*

Faizan Wani

Srinagar, Apr 21 (KNO): The first semester MBA students of Kashmir University (north campus) Wednesday staged a protest here to press for the online examinations, saying that several students and faculty members have tested positive for the deadly disease in the campus.

Holding placards in their hands, which read “conduct online exams, exams in COVID is a murder,” dozens of students, including girls according to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) amid slogans appeared at Press Enclave and staged a protest to press for the online examinations.

Students said the varsity administration cannot put the lives of hundreds of students at risk by forcing them to share space with the students and faculty members having tested positive for COVID-19 recently.

They said the KU authorities must cancel offline exams for the larger interest of the students and issue fresh date sheets for online exams.

“If the exams of 2nd and 3rd semester MBA students could be conducted through online mode, why is this facility denied to us? Dozens of students and faculty members were tested positive for COVID-19 in north campus recently, how could we share space with the COVID patients,” a girl student told the media.

She urged the varsity administration to consider their demand on a humanitarian basis so that the lives of hundreds of students are saved.

“Our date sheet for offline exams was issued recently, but we were not ready for exams given a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases throughout India including Jammu and Kashmir. How could they put our lives in danger under such circumstances,” she added—(KNO)
*Re-Registration Of Outside Vehicles*

*What ‘Necessitated’ March 27 Circular, HC Asks RTO Kashmir To File Affidavit*

*‘Pendency Of Petitions No Impediment For Transport Authorities To Screen Vehicles’*

Srinagar, April 21 (GNS): Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday asked Regional Transport Officer Kashmir to file affidavit before it by tomorrow, indicating therein as to what necessitated the issuance of March 27 circular, mandating the vehicle owners who have purchased their vehicles bearing outside registration number to apply for a new registration within fortnight.

A division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul also made it clear that pendency of the petitions would not be an impediment for traffic for the Transport Authorities to screen the vehicles with non-local registration mark for checking their veracity vis-a-vis the documents and the bonafide entry into the territorial limits Jammu and Kashmir. However, the court said that such exercise shall be undertaken by the officials of the transport department only.

Earlier, RTO Kashmir, who was present through virtual mode, submitted that the decision to notify the circular was taken in a meeting convened by the Secretary to the Government, Transport Department for ensuring screening of the vehicle which bears the non-local registration. The officer upon being pointedly asked by the court as to whether any exercise was undertaken to meet the requirements of Section 46, 47 and 50 of the Motor Vehicles Act by the Transport Department, he submitted that he has no records to that effect.

“Since the officer was not in a position to satisfactorily demonstrate the origin of the circular and his authority to issue it, the court feels it appropriate to ask the officer to file his affidavit before the court by tomorrow (April 22), indicating therein as to what necessitated the issuance of circular and remain present in person along with records on the next date,” the court ordered as per GNS.

The Secretary to the Government, Transport Department, Civil Secretariat, Jammu, shall also remain present through virtual mode on April 21, the court said further.

Last week, the court had also directed the authorities to file response to the petition filed by one Irshad Hussain Munshi, a resident of Buchpora Srinagar. The court has however already declined to hear the plea as a Public Interest Litigation.

The petitioner, Munshi, has sought directions to the concerned authorities to quash RTO Kashmir’s circular dated March 27, mandating the vehicle owners who have purchased their vehicles bearing outside registration number to apply for a new registration as per the provisions of Section 47/50 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988 within a prescribed period of 15 days, failing which action as warranted shall be initiated against them.

He also sought directions also clarify by way of a circular or order on the issue of levying of tax on the vehicles purchased outside J&K if the previous owner of the vehicle has already paid the tax on the vehicle.

He also sought directions to clarify by way of circular from which period the tax is to be levied on the vehicles.

Munshi has also sought directions to the concerned not to seize or impound or fine the vehicles bearing outside registration number in pursuance of the RTO’s circular.

He also sought direction to the authorities concerned to give the public ample period of time for submitting heir documents for re-registration and also sought directions to amend/relax the rules in order to avoid inconvenience to the general public. (GNS)
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Decision to close 50 percent market sans logic: Traders
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Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam hospitals to have high-capacity oxygen plants: DHSK