Borders Sealed, Flights Cancelled; J&K Quarantined

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A deserted view of Srinagar – KO Photo by Abid Bhat

Srinagar- As all domestic flights were being cancelled from Tuesday night, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday decided to seal interstate borders and restrict the movement of vehicles across the districts in a bid to contain the spread of deadly coronavirus.

The decision in this regard was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam in Jammu, an official spokesperson said.

As already reported, in wake of fast-spreading coronavirus cases in India, the central government has suspended all domestic commercial flights with effective from midnight 24 March. The government, however, did not clarify on the deadline of the suspension period.

The meeting in Jammu decided to completely seal interstate borders with Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh UT. Similarly inter district movement of vehicles would also be restricted as per requirement, the spokesperson said.

However, all essential vehicles would ply normally and the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway would also be regulated.

The Chief Secretary directed strict checking at entry points of Qazigund and Lower Munda besides at other entry points, airports and bus stands, amid reports that some travellers were skipping screening and self-declaration at arrival points or falsifying information about their travel.

“Action should be initiated against those putting others at risk,” Subrahmanyam said.

The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary, Home, Shaleen Kabra; Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development, Dheeraj Gupta; Principal Secretary, Planning & Development & Information, Rohit Kansal; Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma; Inspector General, Jammu zone Mukesh Singh. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, P. K. Pole; IGP, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar and senior officers of Kashmir province attended the meeting through video conferencing.

The meeting also ordered release of Rs. 40 crore additionally to all Deputy Commissioners to support their corona mitigation efforts.

Besides, additional amounts of Rs 50 lakh each were approved for Jammu and Srinagar Municipal Corporations to augment their sanitation efforts. Other Municipal Committees of the J&K would also be released additional funds accordingly, it was also decided, the official spokesperson said.

“The meeting also decided to release Rs One crore to the Jal Shakti (PHE) Department to augment drinking water supply in the Jammu and Kashmir,” the spokesperson said.

“The Chief Secretary also directed to keep all treasuries in Jammu & Kashmir open to facilitate withdrawal of bills in view of the closure of financial year,” he added.

The meeting also decided that advance ration for two months of April and May would be issued to all eligible consumers. Besides, one month’s ration for Mid-Day Meals would also be given in advance to all parents of eligible children.

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