Punjab Caretaker Government Exempts Call Centers and IT Centers from Smog Lockdown

Punjab’s caretaker government has revised its earlier notification, exempting call centers and international IT centers from the lockdown imposed in several districts to combat smog. However, a revised notification from the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department now permits call centers and international IT centers to operate on Friday, November 10.

The Punjab government declared a public holiday on November 10 (Friday) for Lahore, Gujranwala, and other specified districts due to the prevailing smog situation. The government’s notification stated that this public holiday applied to certain districts, with exceptions for specific offices designated by the Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department.

The lockdown exemption also includes various essential services like pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centers, petrol pumps, oil depots, tandoors, bakeries, grocery and Karyana stores, dairy shops, sweet shops, vegetable and fruit shops, as well as chicken and meat shops. Postal and courier services, e-commerce, cellular networks, and telecom centers will continue to operate.

The smog-related measures will remain in effect in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala, Narowal, Hafizabad, and Sialkot. An environmental and health emergency had been declared in Lahore, Gujranwala, and Hafizabad divisions due to the severe smog conditions.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi had announced this during a press conference on Tuesday, citing an air quality index (AQI) of 390, categorizing the city’s air quality as hazardous. The citizens had been grappling with a hazy and smoggy atmosphere, making outdoor activities nearly impossible.

While markets in the affected districts are allowed to operate today and tomorrow, shopping malls and markets will be closed on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, the notification specifies that cinema halls, restaurants, and gyms will remain open as usual.

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