Kashmir administration to screen all functioning industrial units for COVID-19

The administration has now shut down the industrial estate in Rangreth, where over 25 units were operating, as 14 people working or associated with FIL Industries cold storage unit tested positive for coronavirus.

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SRINAGAR: The J&K administration has decided to conduct screening for COVID-19, at all the industrial estates in Kashmir, following the spread of virus in one of the units inside Rangreth Industrial estate on the outskirts of Srinagar.

The administration has now shut down the industrial estate in Rangreth, where over 25 units were operating, as 14 people working or associated with FIL Industries cold storage unit tested positive for coronavirus.

Fearing further spread of virus, the officials claimed that workers at the around 600 units allowed to function amid lockdown would be screened for COVID-19. The officials are also mulling to revise the standard operating procedure and guidelines issued last month, for opening and running of essential and non-essential industrial units amid ongoing lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.


“Rangreth Industrial estate has been shut completely. We already took samples of around 60 people out of which some tested positive. 50 people have been put under quarantine. Now we are going to take samples of 100 more people working inside this estate,” Director of Industries Kashmir, Mehmood Shah told ET. He also informed that workers of all the units operating in Kashmir would be screened for COVID-19.

The spokesperson of FIL claimed that a fruit packer, from Budgam who tested positive was not its employee. However, the administration is now investigating violation of standard operating procedure at FIL as the industrial units opened during the lock down were strictly asked to only function with in-house workers staying within the facility and follow strict protocol for social distancing and sanitization.

The shutting down of Rangreth estate has also impacted the essential supplies units like oxygen cylinder suppliers and mask manufacturers, which are in acute demand due to the pandemic.
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“I don’t understand that if administration doesn’t allow transportation inside the estate, what is the fun of manufacturing. We cannot be punished for wrongs of one unit holder as the virus is limited to their contacts only,” said an owner of an essential industrial unit in Rangreth.

Last week, a driver of a cold storage unit in Lassipora industrial estate in Pulwama also tested positive, following which 200 meter area was declared as containment zone and random samples were collected for tests. “We took 32 samples from Lassipora and fortunately all tested negative,” said Shah.

The graph of COVID-19 isn’t flattening in Kashmir as till May 9, 790 cases were reported from Kashmir and 71 cases were reported from Jammu since the first case was reported from the Union Territory on March 9, 2020.
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