Srinagar: Kashmir administration has come under sharp criticism over closure of schools while keeping tourist spots open where visitors rarely follow any COVID-19 protocol.
On last Sunday, authorities announced closure of schools in Kashmir upto class 9th for two weeks and one week for class 10th, 11th, and 12th. The decision was taken after around 200 students were tested positive for COVID-19 in schools across Kashmir.
At the same time, people have questioned the government’s move saying tourist spots have been kept open where tourists and locals visit without wearing masks or maintaining social distancing.
Tulip Garden and Badamwari in Srinagar have become a main attraction of tourists and locals, where people in large numbers throng these days.
On Thursday, thousands of people including tourists were seen visiting Tulip Garden, which led to massive traffic jam on Boulevard.
“Government announced closure of school for safety of students but those children are now visiting Tulip Garden. I fail to understand for what purpose schools were closed when thousands of people visit gardens without even wearing masks,” Abdul Gani Bhat, a resident of Dalgate told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
On last Saturday, the tulip festival was thrown open by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in presence of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan.
An official of the Floriculture Department said over 1.10 lakh people have visited Tulip Garden since it was thrown open on March 25.
NC spokesman Imran Nabi Dar said, “Setting off a shutdown of the public and private schools is what the government has come up with while as government functions continue unabated. This is not a uniform answer to the emerging situation.”
He said that the unmanaged rush at public places including parks and gardens in Kashmir is also a point of concern which the incumbent administration had conveniently overlooked.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P K Pole said they are closely monitoring the situation. “Decision will be taken at appropriate time,” Pole told news agency KINS when asked if the administration was considering closure of schools.
A fresh wave of Covid-19 infections has already set off alarm bells in Kashmir. Health experts are also saying the ingress of travellers and migrant labourers into the Valley has resulted in a spike.
Doctors Association Kashmir led by Dr Nissar ul Hassan said patients in large numbers are coming to hospitals with severe bilateral pneumonia requiring oxygen, some needing intensive care and the support of ventilators to help them survive the respiratory distress. “Our beds are full, oxygen points are occupied and we don’t have space in intensive care units,” Dr Hassan said. (KINS)