DADU: While each and every segment of society is suffering losses and hardship in terms of earning amid closure of almost all kinds of trade, business and commercial concerns, the Sindh government is also bound to lose heavily on revenues in this fiscal.

Among the departments which would suffer heavily are Auqaf and tourism as all shrines and recreational spots across the province have been closed to the public. For the Auqaf department, handouts/donations from visitors (devotees) form a considerably big amount as annual revenue. Similarly, the tourism department mainly banks on tourists’ spending at recreational spots, resorts etc. The transport department also has its share in revenue from all such activities.

In the last few days, the Sindh government has taken measures to keep most local passenger transport services off the road. It had only a week earlier imposed a ban on interprovincial passenger services.

Although these measures have succeeded in restricting most people’s movement to their neighbourhood or a little further, they could not bar those having their own four-wheelers from travelling to far-off areas. Families and groups of friends or relatives were still seen visiting recreational spots and resorts until a couple of days back, when a tougher step was taken to check the large gatherings at such sites.

Under a Sindh government directive, police posts have been established all along the routes of the sites including Gorakh Hill Station, Gaji Shah, Karo Kot, Pipra Sar, Gaaj River, Mian Naseer Mohammad Kalhoro graveyard and Khudabad Mosque in Dadu district alone. There are reports that similar barriers to stop people from visiting beaches in Karachi have been set up.

The Jamshoro police have cordoned off the roads leading to the historic Rannikot Fort, the seven man-made caves in Kai and Manchhar Lake.

At Wahi Pandi check post, police were seen turning away a large number of vehicles carrying local tourists and families intending to spend a day or two at the Gorakh Hill station.

Confirming that the measures have been taken on Sindh government’s order through the district administration, Dadu SSP Aijaz Ahmed Shaikh said that eight check posts had been set up along the routes to the hill station and other recreational spots in the Khirthar mountain range.

Jamshoro SSP Javed Baloch said that three check posts had been established along the route of Rannikot Fort to prevent people from visiting the historic site.

Manzoor Kanasro, the director general of archaeology, antiquities and archives, said that all tourist and historic places in Larkana, Khairpur Mirs, Thatta, Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, Karachi and other towns in Sindh had been closed to the public to save people from contracting the deadly coronavirus.

“The Sindh police have been empowered to take coercive action against anyone seen violating the restrictions recently enforced in this regard,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2021

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