Government to screen non-J&K workforce on way to Valley

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SRINAGAR — With over a lakh non-J&K UT residents all set to arrive in Kashmir from March 10 onwards to earn their living by working in different areas of the Valley, the J&K administration on Monday said that it will further strengthen the screening system to ensure all the non-local workers are screened thoroughly.

According to reports, more than one lakh non-J&K workforce reaches Valley from March 10 to work in different sectors—especially construction. Many of them work as painters, barbers and street vendors who sell nuts, corn and juice in the summer months.

Interesting to note is that a large chunk of non-J&K residents also work in paddy fields during the harvest period and they stay in rented accommodations across Kashmir. “This is something we have taken note of,” Nodal Officer for Coronavirus Control in J&K, Dr Shafqat Khan said over the phone.

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He said that two points have been set up on the highway—Lowermunda and Lakhanpur for screening every traveller. “Similarly, we have strengthened the screening system at the Airports—both Srinagar and Jammu,” Dr Khan said.

He said that it is important to screen the non-local workforce, who come in large numbers. “For that, we are upgrading our screening mechanism only to ensure none enters into J&K without screening,” Khan said.

A group of non-J&K labourers living in Bihar, who have hired a four-room accommodation in Habba Kadal area of Srinagar, said that they would reach Kashmir on March 10.

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“We have a lot of bookings for painting, at least six houses in full,” said Gulab Kumar, an expert in painting houses with modern gadgets. He said hundreds of people from Bihar having expertise in different jobs like carpenters, barbers, shuttering, and labourers are all set to leave for Kashmir from March 10.

According to Gulab, they would board a train from Bihar to Jammu first and then travel by road to Srinagar.

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