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Punjab govt revises lockdown imposed in smog-hit districts

Punjab govt revises lockdown imposed in smog-hit districts

طوبیٰ Tooba 8 months ago 0 4

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Commuters make their way amid heavy smog along a road, in Lahore. — Online/File
Commuters make their way amid heavy smog along a road, in Lahore. — Online/File
  • Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura and Kasur to face lockdown.
  • Other districts include Gujranwala Narowal, Hafizabad and Sialkot.
  • Schoolchildren experiencing eye and respiratory issues due to smog.

The Punjab government on Thursday revised the lockdown imposed in multiple districts of the province due to the prevalent smog.

In its amended notification, the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department of the province notified that call centres and international information technology companies will be allowed to operate during the lockdown.

While markets in the eight smog-hit districts will be allowed to operate today and tomorrow; however, shopping malls and markets will be closed on Saturday and Sunday. The notification also states that cinema halls, restaurants and gyms will remain open today as per routine.

The decision will remain in effect in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala Narowal, Hafizabad and Sialkot.

A day earlier, an environmental and health emergency had been declared in Lahore, Gujranwala, and Hafizabad divisions for four days due to the prevailing smog conditions.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi made the announcement during a press conference on Tuesday when the air quality index (AQI) in the city measured 390, falling under the category of hazardous.

At this AQI level, the city maintained its position as one of the most polluted cities with citizens experiencing a hazy and smoggy atmosphere throughout the day. The air quality was severely poor, making it nearly impossible to breathe normally outdoors.

Naqvi addressed the media, highlighting discussions in a detailed cabinet meeting. The meeting revealed that schoolchildren were experiencing eye and respiratory problems due to the prevailing conditions.

The cabinet was informed that four times more crop burning was occurring in India than in Pakistan, contributing to the challenges faced by the region.

Decisions made during the meeting included the implementation of Section 144 in three districts of Punjab, along with the closure of schools, colleges, and all government departments. Additionally, a holiday on November 9 was declared, resulting in the closure of educational institutions and government offices from Thursday to Sunday in specific districts, including the Lahore division, Wazirabad, Gujranwala and Nankana Sahib.

Naqvi urged citizens to wear face masks and asked them to give Lahore some respite by staying indoors during this period. He emphasised that these measures were temporary and would be strictly enforced, with strict actions against violators.

As a precautionary measure under the health and environmental emergency, the Lahore Festival has also been cancelled.

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