Suspension of mobile services, cancellation of movement passes an “ill-considered step”: KCC&I

Srinagar, 09 May, (KNS): Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) on Saturday termed the abrupt cancellation of movement passes and the suspension of mobile services in Kashmir in the middle of a pandemic as an ‘ill-considered step’.
According to statement issued to Kashmir News Service (KNS), spokesperson of KCC&I stated that over a period of almost two months since the COVID-19 lockdown has been imposed, after comprehensive scrutiny of their needs, thousands of movement passes had been issued. It included those requiring medical attention and their attendants, suppliers of essential commodities, media persons and others. We do not dispute the reports about unscrupulous elements in the society indulging in misuse and duplication of passes. The focus of the administration would have been better placed on taking punitive action against such elements. It requires no special operations but basic policing.
“Had action been taken in time, the matter could have been contained without taking resort to such extreme measures”, spokesperson said.
He said instead, the punishment has been meted out to the genuinely affected. At the same time, it was the responsibility of the administration to first substitute all the passes issued by them with those having n enhanced security features before the cancellation. Was it not before the 24th of April that the misuse and forgery of passes was detected by the Srinagar administration? Normally shouldn’t urgent steps first have been taken to substitute all the existing passes in the following two weeks? Instead, the onus has been put on the already beleaguered public, without a valid pass, to somehow reach the District Magistrates office and stand in line to apply afresh. Even with valid passes, vehicles carrying essential commodities to various areas have been facing trouble with reports of manhandling of drivers by police which has been duly brought to the notice of the administration.
“Now the cancellation is bound to create further confusion. Following the order, strict cordons were put up all over Srinagar on the 6th of May resulting in jams at all major junctions. The number of police personnel manning the junctions was too few to ensure any regulation of necessary travel. Consequently, they simply sealed off the roads until the people were forced to withdraw. Whatever the intentions behind the order, it has caused incommensurable hardships and harassment for the public. It would be helpful for the District Administration to view the CCTV footage of important junctions like Abdullah Bridge, Dalgate, Batamalloo and Sanatnagar for the 6th of May to understand the impact of their orders”, spokesperson said.
He added mobile services were also suspended on the 6th of May, 2020 thereby resulting in a total breakdown of any communications. The mobile calling services have been restored only today the 9th of May, 2020.
He further added that while as the KCC&I have been unequivocal in appreciation of the administration wherever it deserved such appreciation, especially of local officers, fairness demands that we be equally unequivocal in our disapproval. The unprecedented situation emerging out of the COVID pandemic has required an out of the box approach and the administration has been working round the clock for keeping the wheels moving. There is justifiable stress. But due consideration has also to be given to the local community which has been enduring the 10th month of what the TIME magazine has termed as the “World’s Longest Lockdown”. The rights and privileges of the people need to be accorded proper respect and they should not be treated as mute savages. (KNS) 

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