Tribune News Service
Shimla, June 14
The number of vehicles entering the state from various borders is higher than the e-pass issued for the purpose.
As many as 7,201 persons entered Himachal yesterday on 2,787 e-passes but the Shimla police claimed that 5,000 vehicles arrived in Shimla. If this is the case, then either the police, manning the entry points, are being liberal in allowing vehicles without an e-pass or some other routes are being used by tourists.
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As per data available with the IT Department, 31,961 persons have entered Himachal since June 11. As many as 5,711 tourists on 2,338 e-passes reached borders till 5 pm today. A total of 1.79 lakh people have visited since May 15 on 88,242 e-passes.
To provide respite to the tourism sector, the government announced opening of the borders of the state and the condition for tourists to carry the RTPCR report has been lifted. Hoteliers and other stakeholders had demanded that the RTPCR report should not be mandatory as this was discouraging tourist arrivals.
The Cabinet, at its last meeting, had given the aproval for several relaxations, including resumption of public transport and doing away with the RTPCR report for anyone entering the state.
Long queues of tourist vehicles at various inter-state borders like Parwanoo, Una and Kangra are giving nightmares to the locals, who fear that such unhindered entry could pose a risk to their safety. Many people have echoed their concerns on the social media by remarking “welcome corona” and that the safety of the locals cannot be compromised for hoteliers’ benefit.
Responding to a query about the huge influx of tourists, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said today that the entry of people would be monitored through registration in the Covid e-pass software. The persons desirous of entering the state were now required to enter their particulars in the software and the details were being shared with the stakeholders.
However, the government will have to put in place some foolproof mechanism to ensure that there is proper record and people enter only after obtaining an e-pass, which is still mandatory.
Popular tourist destinations like Kufri, Mashobra, Chail, Kasauli, Dalhousie, Kullu-Manali and Dharamsala-McLeodganj are witnessing a heavy rush of vehicles.
HP had witnessed the worst-ever spike in Covid cases in April-May. The experience still haunts people with many families losing more than one member.
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