Srinagar: As part of its reach out programme and to get suggestions on opening of lockdown, the district administration here Friday held meetings with different heads of religious places.
The meeting tried to explore as to how the religious heads could educate people about precautions they need to take against the pandemic and to get their feedback on reopening of religious places.
“The meeting was attended by heads of Masjid, temple, Gurduwara and church committees. They gave various suggestions which were taken note of,” an official said.
In the past 15 days, the district administration has held around seventy such meetings with stakeholders from different segments of society including business, trade, sports councils, etc.
The sessions were held in all tehsils across the district.
In a session in Khanyar tehsil, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar said that COVID-19 “is now part of life at least till a vaccine becomes available.” He said the lockdown and restrictions cannot be enforced forever.
Heads of places of worship, civil society members and other respectable citizens were present in the session.
He urged all religious and other heads to assist the administration in its efforts to sensitise the masses about the dangers of taking the novel coronavirus for granted.
While maintaining that people listen to and believe in the words and messages of religious heads of masjids, gurdwaras, temples and churches, he urged them to use their influence in spreading awareness and encouraging a culture of preventions.
He said to contain the virus, the lockdown was imposed and now the COVID19 cases have “gone down”. “We have today sixty percent of positive cases who are travelers,” he said.
He said that the District Disaster Management Authority Srinagar has established 3000-bedded well-equipped COVID wellness centres at nearly half a dozen locations aimed at providing the best possible facilities to mild and asymptomatic COVID positive patients.
He said that today the COVID19 clinical testing capacity has gone up from 100 to around six thousand.
“The world is reopening now. We need to prepare the people in Srinagar to live with new reality (COVID19). The reopening (unlocking) phase belongs to the public as they have to take precautions at large scale,” he said.
He said that in this regard religious heads have a vital role to play given the fact they are being heard and respected in society.
“They have to convince people to maintain social distancing, wear masks and maintaining hygiene,” he said.
He said that the unlocking system needs a confidence of positive response. “Earlier, we held meetings with trade bodies, businessmen, restaurant owners and manufactures. They were asked to adhere to guidelines while operating their business,” he said.
He said Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits were distributed among them to ensure the mechanism is in line with the SOPs.
He said that special training sessions were held for them to prepare the city to be opened up once again.
He said that COVID19 testing of persons involved in trade and service sectors were also conducted to ensure no infected person is involved in the operation of public dealing business.
“We need to prepare the people to live with this virus before we take any further call on relaxation. The lockdown cannot continue as the rest of the world is reopening now,” he said.
In other tehsils, respective tehsildars and other senior officers chaired the interactive sessions. Significant participation of religious and other heads as well as respectable members of civil societies were witnessed.
During these sessions the importance of social distancing, using of facemasks, washing of hands with soap, avoiding crowd and social gatherings among other guidelines were emphasised.
The participants were urged to propagate these messages and help the administration in its efforts to contain spread of COVID-19 disease.
In each of these interactive sessions held across the district suggestions and feedback were also sought from participants and representatives and heads of mohallas.
These suggestions and feedback were noted for incorporation in guidelines and improvements in services and efforts put in place on the ground.
The administration shared its future plans and strategies with participants in each interactive session and urged all citizens to support it in its efforts. The participants in all these interactive sessions assured the administration of their full support and assistance to reach out to masses and spread the message of precautions and guidelines.
Concerned SHOs and other senior officers were also present in the interactive sessions in their respective tehsils.
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