Cover Story Jammu & Kashmir The Lead

Public Transport poses serious threat to passengers, as Covid SoPs go for a toss

Will intensify drive in enforcing the guidelines in public vehicles: RTO Kashmir; ADC Sgr issues warning to passengers, drivers

Srinagar, Apr 05: Public transport in Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir is posing a serious threat to passengers as Covid-SoPs are going for a toss forcing the authorities to issue a serious warning for passengers and drivers. The Srinagar administration has also warned of slapping a fine on the passengers and drivers, who are found violating the Covid-guidelines.

Kashmir News Observer (KNO) spoke to a number of passengers who frequently travel in public vehicles including Sumos and Traveras, and came to know that one among 10 passengers use face mask during travel while others prefer not to use the face masks.

“Simply, Covid guidelines are going for a big toss in Kashmir. People are least bothered about Covid resurgence in Valley, especially Srinagar which is worst hit. This is strange. People are travelling without face masks and there is no monitoring at all,” said Shazia Bashir, who travels regularly to her office in Srinagar from Pampore area. Other frequent travelers echoed similar views and demanded a monitoring mechanism by the transport department or the district administration.

Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Kashmir, Ikram-Ullah Tak, while speaking with the KNO said, “we have already deputed our squads to check the Covid -19 Sops violation and fines have also been imposed on the violators.”

He further said the District Administration Srinagar has already constituted the teams in which “our teams are also part of it and jointly with the magistrates we are doing routine checks to make sure the Covid-19 sops are adhered while using the public Transport.”

He said that in coming days, the drive for the strict enforcement of the Covid-19 SoPs in public transport will be intensified and those found violating will be dealt with strictly.  

 Interestingly, Covid guidelines read: “Individuals must maintain a base distance of six feet (2 Gaz ki Dori) in public places”. However, this is hardly seen on ground.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr. Syed Haneef Balkhi said that the Covid-19 SoPs and guidelines are already in place and they have been repeatedly asking people associated with trade or transport, to adhere to the guidelines, and before that people are being penalized for violating the Covid-19 guidelines.

“I appeal people to show a responsible approach and follow Covid-19 guidelines in spirit,” he said. “We conduct random sampling and inspection also in and around the city. People found violating the Covid-19 guidelines are being fined, wearing of masks and maintaining of physical distance at public places is what is need of the hour,” he said.

 

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