Altaf Hamid Rao.
MIRPUR (AJK), (Parliament Times) : The lake-district of Mirpur :Azad Jammu and Kashmir remained the COVID-19 lock downed the third consecutive day ON Wednesday.
People across the city and rest of the district mostly adhered to the prohibitory orders to help authorities overcome the spread of corona virus, that has gripped this ancestral district of over a million of the UK-based Kashmiri expatriates.
Local district administration had imposed the phased month-long lockdown, initially for one-week across the district with effect from March 1st to avert the threat of rapid spreading of the coronavirus in its ongoing second specll.
The law enforcement agencies, AJK police, continued chasing those, mostly youngsters, roaming the streets on bikes unnecessarily and reportedly booked several of such roamers.
The lockdown clamped the district to disband the daily life for the sake of overcoming the spread of the epidemic.
The streets continued giving deserted look as the shops, shopping malls and major business centers remained closed except only the milk, vegetables and fruits shops and petrol pumps.
All kinds of inter-city, inter-district and inter-provincial transport was halted to and from Mirpur Azad Jammu Kashmir during the lock-down.
All universities, schools and colleges were continued to remain closed, besides closure of offices of all private and public-sector departments except banks and financial institutions across AJK following the lock-down to avert threat of the spread of the virus that engulfed entire district leaving the fatility of over 165 persons so far since the outbreak of the pandemic since about an year ago besides affecting the the daily life paralyzed in this much affected district.
The district administration had on Saturday announced to shut down all the private and state-run educational institutions throughout the district till March 1431 without any break to combat the pandemic that had already threatened major parts of the world including Pakistan and AJK.
National and regional Newspapers could not reach their respective destinations in the lock-downed district holding the country’s largest reservoir of Mangla dam in its lap, following the suspension of all kinds of vehicular traffic to and from the district during the lockdown that was planned to be imposed in phases for next four weeks as announced by the district authorities because of the continual rising spread of the pandemic with prime focus to overcome the virus completely.
This correspondent visited various streets of Mirpur to assess the situation and found duty officials of the law enforcement agencies and civic bodies including Deputy Commissioner Bader Muneer, SSP Raja Irfan Saleem, Additional SP Raja Azhar Iabal, SDM Munir Queshi, DSP city Ch. Ansar Mahmood and others were found alert and vigilant to ensure complete lockdown in the district including the city and the areas in its outfkirts, besides supervising the measures to combat the epidemic through required means.
All kinds of private vehicles, inter-provincial, inter-district and inter-city public transport which was suspended from Monday – March 1st, the day first of the month-long prohibitory orders, would continue to be totally banned for operation for the next one week. However, government will ensure uninterrupted supply of edibles and pharmaceutical items. Journalists were exempted to move, during lockdown.
Municipal services, electricity, water supply, SCO, other cellular companies and banks and other institutions of essential services also continue working with the minimum staff. Petrol pumps also remained opened during the lock-down.
Holding of the marriage parties at the marriage halls have also been fully prohibited as all the marriage halls across the district have also been closed down for next one month. The marriage parties could be hosted within the premises of the residential houses with gathering of maximum of 25 persons.
Besides, all kind of gatherings including the political and religious congregations have also been banned and hotels and shopping malls would remain close during entire period of the lockdown across the district.
The government employees of the essential services institutions have been directed to keep their CNIC and other passes if issued by their department with them during the due needed movement.
Authorities have advised the public to participate in the funeral ceremonies in minimum numbers and last burial rituals only by the close relatives of the grieved families.
The district authorities have, meanwhile, directed the duty magistrates to to initiate strict action against those involved in hoarding or profiteering during and after the lock-down period in the district. .
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider has sought full of the cooperation by the Cornona-riddled Mirpur district to the district authorities by strictly acting upon the SOPs by observing social distancing and all other precautionary measures underlined in the State medical advisory to help stop the virus spread in this much-affected district.