The private tuition centres in Kashmir have decided to shut down temporarily due to increased risk of swine flu virus, the Coaching Centres Association of Kashmir said in a statement here. The centres would remain shutting till further orders.
The association said that due to the increased risk, all coaching centres will stop functioning till further orders. “For us the health of a student is of paramount importance and we cannot risk it at any cost,” said G N Var, chairman of the association. “So our coaching centres will remain closed till the situation becomes clear and after we get a green signal from our medical fraternity.”
There are around 550 coaching centres functioning in the valley where more than 50,000 students study. The association said that in case any coaching centre is found violating the orders, it “will have to face music from the association”.
The association said that it is in continuous touch with Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) for the future course of action. “We are following the advice of doctors and will do everything to fight this epidemic from our side,” said Var. “Whatever advice we get from the doctors we pass it on to our staff and teachers regularly.”
The association lambasted the government for failing to control the disease and putting entire population on risk. “According to some government officials the swine flu was prevalent in Kashmir since last September and they never told the people about it. This is sheer criminal negligence,” said G N Var, chairman of the association. “They have put entire population at risk and till date they seem to have no plan to contain it.”
The association asked the government to come clean on the status of the virus and announce a joint effort to fight it. “In outside world even a single death puts the entire administration on toes, but here we are not seeing that approach,” said Var. “Hiding things would make matters worse. Be transparent and fight it head on. Entire society will cooperate with the mission to eradicate this virus.”
The association had asked the government to consult the medical board and immediately publish guidelines for the working of educational institutes as they were at a risk. However, the government did not issue any special guidelines for them while the winter vacation for government and private schools was extended by a week under the purview of inclement weather.
Kashmir witnessed a surge in swine flu cases recently creating panic among the people. The influenza has claimed at least six lives till now while 119 have been tested positive since October last. However, the medical experts had advised people not to panic and take necessary precautions as circulated earlier.