Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir unit of Congress on Tuesday termed the extension of nationwide lockdown a compulsion to combat coronavirus but stressed that the problems of distressed citizens cannot be ignored on the pretext of fighting the disease.
The extension in the lockdown was a step taken under compulsion. There was a national consensus on it but what is annoying is that the prime minister did not address the concerns which had come to light over the past couple of weeks, Chief spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Ravinder Sharma said.
The government cannot ignore the problems of the people who are at the receiving end of the prolonged lockdown.
You cannot ignore the distressed population on the pretext of fighting coronavirus. We support the lockdown and are advising people to follow the advisories of the government religiously but at the same time the government should also try to reach out and address the problems of the public, he said.
The movement of stranded people, especially students, migrant labourers and patients needs to be ensured with certain safeguards. We have a lot of local residents holed up outside the Union Territory who are making frantic calls but the local administration is silent on the issue and not taking steps for their safe return, he added.
He said there is a large number of migrant labourers in Jammu and Kashmir who are running short of ration and money.
They had come to earn a living here but are worst hit because of the prevailing situation, Sharma said alleging that even a large section of the locals, especially those living in remote areas were yet to get their monthly ration leave aside the promised free ration.
Referring to the problems being faced by patients suffering from chronic and life threatening diseases, Sharma said they are being neglected because the entire focus of the official machinery is on combating COVID-19.
The government should come out with a contingency plan to facilitate smooth treatment to those suffering from serious ailments. They should be provided with to and fro ambulances services, he said.
Noting that farmers too were in distress as crops were ready for harvest, Sharma said the administration should come out with a workable plan so that the farmers can attend to their crops in time .
Welcoming online coaching and teaching because of shutting of schools, Sharma said the exercise has no meaning for a large section of students in the UT due to non-availability of 4G mobile internet.
The government should immediately restore the 4G mobile internet services. Only a handful students having broadband and Wi-Fi connections at their homes are able to download the content and attend the online coaching, while the majority of students are unable to avail the facility, he said.
He also demanded the smooth movement of nomadic Gujjar and Bakarwal communities who move from Jammu region to Kashmir in search of greener pastures as well as elderly Kashmiris who have come to Jammu during winter season ahead of the holy month of Ramzan.