J&K administration orders shutdown till March 31

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday ordered the shutdown of all establishments except those providing essential services and commodities across the Union Territory till March 31.

The shutdown will come into effect from 8 pm on Sunday till 6 pm on March 31, Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said in a letter to all 20 deputy commissioners of the UT.

He said the shutdown was necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and break the transmission chain of the virus.

“…it is necessary to enforce social distancing, i.e., preventing/minimizing close contact between people, therefore, Deputy Commissioners/District Magistrates shall issue orders under section 144 CrPC and also under the Disaster Management Act 2005 (both Acts) to shutdown all establishments except those providing essential commodities/services in their districts from Sunday 22 March, 2020 (08.00 PM) till Tuesday, the 31st March, 2020 (06.00 pm),” the letter said.

The Chief Secretary said the department of food, civil supplies and consumer affairs has already issued a list of essential commodities and services.

Earlier in the day, an order issued by Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Simrandeep Singh declared 16 services as essential.

The essential services include supply of groceries, fresh fruits, vegetables, medicines and other pharmaceuticals, manufacturing of health and medical equipment, banks, ATMs, dispensing of petrol and diesel at pumps, milk shops and dairies and related products, supply of cattle fodder, domestic and commercial LPG, telecom operators and their designated agencies, newspapers, post offices and loading and unloading of wheat and rice at Food Corporation of India (FCI) and local food depots.

“All goods vehicles including those carrying essential items shall be allowed to ply during the shutdown period with proper permits/passes issued by the district administration who will make necessary arrangements for this purpose,” the chief secretary said.

He said the district administration would also make appropriate arrangements for persons engaged in providing essential services to travel without hindrance to their places of work.

“Deputy commissioners shall also restrict all assemblies at public places to not more than three persons,” the order read, directing deputy commissioners to ensure strict implementation of these instructions with immediate effect, while the Divisional commissioners would monitor the compliance.