Vendors to operate on rotational basis, follow SOPs: Admin
After remaining closed for over seven months following the COVID-19 pandemic, the flea market in Srinagar reopened along with proper SOPs in place on Sunday.
Maintaining social distancing, scores of vendors Sunday had set up their stalls starting from Hari Singh High Street to TRC Grade Separator.
This year on March 7 the Srinagar administration ordered the closure of the weekly flea market in Srinagar to prevent large gatherings in the city following COVID-19 pandemic.
The vendors had set up their stalls with a gap of 4-5 meters from one stall to another and all were seen urging people to wear masks.
Some NGOs were also seen distributing the masks and assisting vendors in maintaining social distancing.
The group was urging them to follow COVID-19 advisories.
Even some of the vendors had put up banners at different places, asking customers to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Vendors Association President HSHS, Mushtaq Ahmad said that for the past seven months they had no business.
“Now the administration has allowed us to resume business along COVID-19 guidelines,” he said.
Ahmad said, around 1700 families are fully dependent on this market and its closure would affect the livelihood of poor vendors.
“The district administration has urged us to follow COVID-19 SOPs and we have assured them the same,” he said. “We are thankful to the administration for allowing us to resume our business.”
Another vendor Abdul Majeed Shalla said it was a welcome move.
“We have been asked by our union presidents to operate on alternate Sundays,” he said. “I put my stall this Sunday and next Sunday there will be another vendor from our union here. At least we will be getting something rather than sitting static at home.”
Majeed said Kashmir was facing a period of back-to-back lockdowns for the past year and a half and that the government should take care of such things.
“We faced many problems during the past 7 months and reopening of the market is a hope for our families. It is now the first Sunday after COVID-19 and there were fewer sales compared to the normal days,” he said.
An official from the Srinagar administration said that they had allowed the vendors to operate on a rotational basis while following COVID-19 SOPs and if anyone would violate the SOPs, he would be booked under the law.
“They have been asked to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and keep sanitizers to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus,” the official said.