Panic as thousands of non-local labourers arrive amid COVID lockdown in Kashmir

A video which has gone viral on social media network sites in which non-local labourers heading towards Kashmir say they have not undergone COVID19 test has left people here worried, even as the administration says that necessary protocol is being followed.

In the video, a bus can be seen halted somewhere on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway while on the way to Kashmir. One of the passengers says he is from Uttar Pradesh and hasn’t been tested for COVID19. Many others say the same while some can be seen not answering the question from the person shooting the video. Besides men, women and kids too can be seen travelling in the bus.

The video has been shared by hundreds of people and they have expressed their concern over the issue.

Every year, thousands of non-locals would throng Kashmir in the month of March-April to earn their living by engaging themselves in various jobs.

However this year due to Covid19 lockdown, the labourers the coming late.

Labour department officials said that over 10000 non-local labourers from different states have come to the valley during the last week. Everyday, over 60 buses cross the Jawahar tunnel carrying labourers.

“If public transport is banned in Kashmir, why is no such ban on the highway?” a local resident asked.

Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, K K Sidha, said that sampling of these labourers is being carried out. “I can’t vouch for that video, but we carry out sampling,” Sidha said.

He said sampling of over 10000 labourers had been carried out. “Till their results come, they are kept in isolation,” he said.