PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has banned inter-districts public transport across the province for seven days.
The ban will be enforced from Monday (today) as a two-day. The centres of non-essential businesses including markets and eateries were also closed on Sunday morning for two days to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Two separate notifications were issued by the government about ban on inter-district public transport as well as closure of markets, shopping malls and restaurants. However, private vehicles and goods transport vehicles have been exempted from the ban.
Addressing a press conference, Adviser to Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Khan Wazir said that government banned inter-districts public transport across the province for seven days to prevent possible spread of coronavirus.
Three bridegrooms arrested for violating ban on gatherings as markets remain closed
The government, he said, also issued orders to shut down shopping malls, markets and restaurants from 9am on March 22 till 9am on March 24.
However, petrol pumps, pharmacies, general stores, meat and chicken shops, fruit and vegetable shops, flour shops, auto workshops and goods markets would be exempted from the ban, said Mr Wazir. He added that only home delivery would be allowed from restaurants and cafeterias.
According to the KP relief, rehabilitation and settlement department’s notification, the earlier permission to restaurants and eateries to the extent of takeaway was withdrawn. However, home delivery services may continue.
The transport and mass transit department in a notification said that all bus stands should be closed for inter-district transport service. Besides, the business of providing cars on rent should not be allowed to operate.
However, the orders are not applicable to the intra-district passenger transport service, private vehicles and goods transport vehicles.
Urban Transport Union president Khan Zaman Afridi told Dawn that the intra-city transport service would also remain suspended because all the bus stands would remain sealed. “The intra-city transport will remain suspended following directives from director transport,” he added.
He said that many of the transporters had already kept their vehicles off the roads to save themselves from coronavirus. He added that transporters would extend full cooperation to the government for tackling the disease effectively.
Mr Afridi said that there would be no public service vehicles on the roads from Monday (today) to make the efforts against coronavirus a success.
An official of the livestock department said that about 20 per cent staff of the department was on duty to deal with any possible emergency while the reminainf employees were on leave to ensure social distance.
It was observed that the traders in different areas of the city also displayed banners that their shops would remain closed as per government instructions.
Meanwhile, the district administration and relevant police arrested three bridegrooms and 88 shopkeepers for violating ban on wedding ceremonies and keeping shops of non-essential items open.
The grooms were arrested at different locations on Ring Road in the limits of Peshtakhara police station where people had arranged well-attended marriage ceremonies despite imposition of ban on gatherings.
According to an official statement, raids were conducted in various areas and 88 people running snooker clubs, restaurants, gyms and shops of non-essential items were arrested.
The shopping malls and markets in Peshawar wore a deserted look as the law enforcement personnel were visiting different areas. However, the youngsters in groups continued to play cricket and kites in different localities without any check from the local police. The owners of decoration shops had also kept their doors open to attract customers.
Meanwhile, Peshawar Press Club will also remain closed for one week.
According to Imran Yousufzai, the general secretary the club, the accountant would remain present on duty to keep liaison with the office-bearers in case of any emergency.
Traffic mostly remained off the roads in the city but young motorcyclists seemed oblivious to gravity of the situation.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2020