Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 7
With the hill state opening its borders, there is utter chaos at the Shoghi entry point. On an average, 2,000 vehicles are entering the state capital everyday. Long traffic jams with commuters waiting for two-three hours to enter the city have become a common sight.
It has come to light that many people are coming to the state without proper documents and valid Covid-19 test reports, increasing the hassles of the administration. A health form to be filled by commuters has multiple columns, which is leading to further delay.
Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Amit Kashyap said at least 500 Himachalis living outside the state who tried to enter the city clandestinely and without proper documents were quarantined by the administration yesterday. “We cannot risk the lives of residents. Stringent norms are in place. Tourists are coming with rapid test reports, which are not acceptable as per the ICMR guidelines. It takes five to 10 minutes to check documents of the occupants of one vehicle, resulting in long queues of vehicles at entry points,” said the DC.
Although a tehsildar, a naib tehsildar and an HAS probationer have been deputed at the checkpoints in view of the growing rush of vehicles, the main question is how commuters with improper or no documents are being allowed to cross the Parwanoo inter-state border.
“On an average, 2,000 vehicles are entering Shimla. A cumbersome procedure of filling the health form with too many columns is leading to the delay,” said SP, Shimla, Omapati Jamwal.
“The administration should deploy more staff at the checkpoint and open additional counters for the verification of documents to avoid delay and inconvenience,” said a tourist from Punjab.
“It took us almost three hours to cross the entry point,” said a newly wed couple from Delhi. Moreover, there were no toilets. The government should ensure the basic infrastructure at the entry points, besides making the procedure simple, said the couple.
Another commuter, Ashish, said, “I was not aware that that an RT-PCR test report is essential and a rapid test report will not be considered. I was denied entry. The administration should specifically mention the documents required or make arrangements for the test facility here.”
Besides, a large number of people entering the state are neither wearing a mask nor maintaining social distancing, increasing the risk of infection spread.
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