Tribune News Service
Solan, July 5
A traffic jam was witnessed at the inter-state barrier at Parwanoo as hundreds of tourist vehicles from Punjab and Haryana lined up to enter the Himachal Pradesh.
Barely 48-hours after the Himachal government permitted tourists to enter the state, the eager visitors made a beeline for the hills.
As per the standard operating procedures (SOPs), a tourist has to register on the e-COVID portal 48-hours before entering the state. But a large number of tourists had to undergo spot registration as they had not done so earlier, which created a jam as hundreds of vehicles had queued up at the barrier.
Details such as Aadhaar card number, the type of vehicle, purpose, reasons for entering the state, etc are required to be filled in a form which takes several minutes. Such forms are then scanned on the state’s e-COVID portal as well as on the district’s portal.
Parwanoo DSP Yogesh Rolt said that earlier, eight policemen were deputed for a single shift but now six more have been deputed to handle the overwhelming rush of vehicles.
Those entering the state included residents of various districts such as Sirmaur, Kinnaur, Shimla and Solan, who were waiting to come home. The staff has to cancel their leave in order to handle this vehicular rush, the DSP added.
With a large number of people from Delhi and Punjab, who have their summer cottages in Himachal, a slew of queries has been received by the police in the past 48-hours.
While the authorities were sceptical about those coming from the red zones, namely Delhi, there was no mechanism to check whether such people managed to abide by the 14-day home quarantine norm strictly. This could trigger the spread of disease feared officials.
As per the SOPs devised by the state government, a tourist planning to stay for five or more days in a hotel has to furnish a COVID-test report. A large number of such tourists from Punjab and Haryana, who had turned up at Parwanoo, were refused entry as they lacked the COVID-test report, which is supposed to be done 72-hours prior to entering the state.
A large number of tourists from the Tricity and its surrounding areas also revived weekend tourism in Kasauli and Barog as they went back after a few hours. The authorities, however, could not physically verify whether tourists who entered the state for a few hours returned back or not.
What added to the traffic influx was the movement of trucks carrying apples to Delhi and other markets. Since apple harvesting has begun, the movement of trucks would further increase in the coming days.
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