The people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are facing an acute shortage of food and medical supplies as the region is under lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
Sources said that people are running short on food supplies. A bag of 20 kg flour which was priced at under 700 Pakistani rupees before the virus outbreak struck the region is now being sold at more than Rs 1,200.
Mills in Punjab are selling flour to PoK at extortionate rates, the local residents of the area were quoted as saying.
“There are 23 constituencies along the LoC in PoK that are being badly affected by food shortages,” a local said.
People of the region have requested the Indian government to send food ration via Rajouri and Jammu to the villages.
However, at a press conference in Bagh city in PoK, the Traders Associations announced that they will be open for business on April 18 from 10 am to 4 pm (local time), which according to them will continue throughout the month of Ramadan.
They said that this decision has been taken in view of the local government’s indifference towards the hardship faced by small businesses in the region.
“Trader associations are asking for a waiver of current financial year’s taxes, the government should release funds to compensate for the losses that small businesses have suffered and issue interest-free loans. Small businesses should be exempted from paying any utility bills, police brutality should be halted immediately and screening facilities should be available at all entry points between Pakistan and PoK,” a member of the association said.
PoK has registered 46 coronavirus cases, but many suspected patients complain about the lack of medical labs, testing kits and paramedics staff to fight the spread of the virus in the occupied territory.