Monday, January 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Lawlessness marks New Year’s Eve
Weather disappoints tourists
From S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

KUFRI (Shimla), Dec 31 — A large number of New Year Eve revellers were caught in a long traffic jam here as most of the tourists made a beeline to this famous tourist spot in the hope of experiencing a snowfall. But they were disappointed as few snowflakes fell which melted by the time these touched the ground.

Although the district authorities had claimed to have made elaborate security arrangements expecting a large number of tourists, but hardly any policeman was seen until the Deputy Commissioner and the police control room were informed on telephone about the virtual collapse of order.

Miscreants beat up some tourists but the police did not come to their rescue. They were saved with the intervention of some local people.

Though tourists thronging the town on the New Year Eve is an annual feature yet the proper security arrangement was lacking.

As the traffic jam continued, youths got out of their vehicles and started dancing on the road. Some of them even started consuming liquor in the open.

The traffic jam was right up to the Chini Bungalow from the Hindustan-Tibet highway. On the other side, it was towards Chail. The yak and horse owners did a brisk business.

Motorists also faced inconvenience as the traffic lights on both sides of the Dhalli tunnel, which leads to tourist spots in the upper Shimla, were not functioning.

With the sky overcast, the temperature was low and snowfall is expected at night in case the clouds remained.

A large number of tourists also thronged Naldehra, Mashobra and Theog. Chail, Kasauli, Barog and Parwanoo were the other favourite resorts. Those who could not get place in hotels and restaurants, squatted on the side of the highway to make merry.

Rakesh Lohumi adds: The weather god kept the thousands of winter holiday revellers, who have converged on the queen of hills to ring in the New Year, waiting for snow, even as higher reaches of the state had intermittent snow today.

It was the same story in Manali where the snowfall did not extend beyond the famous ski slopes Solang Nallah. The higher hills of Marhi and Rohtang Pass, of course, had heavy snow today. According to reports reaching here, the areas of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur are having intermittent snow since last night. Tourists rushed to Solang valley, Kothi and Gulaba to see the snowfall.

However, the lack of snow did not dampen the spirit of revellers who had plenty of fun on the Ridge, the Mall, Kufri, Chail and other nearby resorts.

A festive atmosphere prevailed in the town on the Ridge where hundreds of tourists, particularly the youth, danced to the tune of live orchestras organised by the state Tourism Department since afternoon.

Policemen have been deployed at various strategic points, including hotels where ‘‘gala nites’’ are being organised. Security persons in plainsclothes have also been deployed to keep a watch on eve-teasers. Security check has been tightened at entry points.

The administration expects a crowd of 35,000-40,000 to the hill resort to ring in the New Year. The city has been divided into six sectors to prevent any untoward incident during the celebration.

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