Srinagar, May 26: The Joint Coordination Committee of City Center (JCCCC) Traders on Wednesday appealed to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to lift the restrictions imposed in Kashmir valley, including the summer capital, Srinagar, following dip in the number of fresh COVID-19 cases.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, the JCCCC said that the lockdown has adversely affected the livelihood of lakhs of people in the valley, including Srinagar city. “Due to non-availability of any work, these people are on the verge of starvation,” it said.
It further said that all the sections of society, including traders, shopkeepers and transporters, have been affected due to this lockdown. “Business establishments in the city centre are the most affected as we haven’t been able to open our shops from last about one month,” it said.
The statement further said that the government should at once hold talks with all the stakeholders and devise a plan so that business can start their operation without affecting the war against COVID-19.
“The government should announce relief package for traders community and the process should start with amnesty on payment of service bills like electricity, sanitation, special extension of the statutory dates of GST, exemption of interest and penalty for not filing the return by the statutory date and six month moratorium on bank interest and EMI without interest,” it added.
The statement by the traders’ body comes a day after Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad ruled out immediate relaxation in COVID curfew in the city.
The Deputy Commissioner said that the decision to lift restriction in a phased manner will be taken in consultation with all stakeholders. ”The number of reported cases in a day is decreasing (in Srinagar)… But, we need to remain alert as this is a curtail time which can determine a win or loss against the disease. There are still more than 6000 active cases, so there is no chance of any sort of relaxation in the curfew right now. We have to follow the SOPs strictly, including maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks and particularly in the vaccination drive,” Mr Azad said on Tuesday.
About the demands of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), he said the memorandum presented by the business community is being examined. “We will take them (the business community) into confidence before taking any decision,” he said.
“Decision to ease the restrictions will be taken in the State Executive Committee meeting after taking everything into consideration, including active COVID positive cases,” he added.