Jam at Parwanoo barrier as tourists line up to enter Himachal

Commuters without Covid-negative test reports sent back

Jam at Parwanoo barrier as tourists line up to enter Himachal

Vehicles move at a snail’s pace at the Parwanoo barrier.

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, July 5

A traffic jam was witnessed at the Parwanoo inter-state barrier as hundreds of tourist vehicles from Punjab and Haryana lined up to enter the hill state.

Barely 48 hours after the state government permitted the entry of tourists, the eager visitors made a beeline for the hills at Parwanoo, the gateway to Himachal Pradesh. As per the standard operating procedure (SOP), a tourist has to register himself on the e-Covid portal 48 hours before entering the state. A large number of them had to undergo spot registration as they had not done so before and this led to hundreds of vehicles queuing up at the barrier.

Details like Aadhar card number, type of vehicle, purpose, reasons for entering the state etc are required to be filled in the form. The form is then scanned on the state’s e-Covid portal as well as on the district’s portal.

Parwanoo DSP Yogesh Rolta said earlier eight policemen were deputed for a single shift. Now, six more personnel have been deputed in each shift to handle the overwhelming rush of vehicles. Those entering the state included residents of various districts like Sirmaur, Kinnaur, Shimla and Solan, who were waiting to come home.

Meanwhile, queries have been received by the police in the past 48 hours from Delhi and Punjab residents who have their summer cottages in the state. While the authorities were sceptical about those coming from red zones like Delhi, there is no mechanism to check whether such people abide by the 14-day home quarantine norm or not. This could trigger the spread of disease, officials feared.

As per the SOP, a tourist planning to stay for five or more days in a hotel has to furnish a Covid-test report. A large number of tourists from Punjab and Haryana, who turned up at Parwanoo, were refused entry as they lacked the test report, supposed to be done 72 hours before entering the state.

A large number of tourists from Chandigarh and its surrounding areas also revived the 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.

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 increase further in the coming days.

Weekend tourism revival at Kasauli, Barog

  • As per the SOP, a tourist has to register on the e-Covid portal 48 hours before entering the state. A large number of people had to undergo spot registration as they had not done so before and this led to hundreds of vehicles queuing up at the barrier.
  • A tourist planning to stay for five or more days in a hotel has to furnish a Covid-negative test report. A large number of people from Punjab and Haryana were refused entry as they lacked the test report, supposed to be done 72 hours before entering the state.
  • Many tourists from Chandigarh and its surrounding areas also revived weekend tourism in Kasauli and Barog as they went back after a few hours.
  • While the authorities are skeptical about those coming from red zones, like Delhi, there is no mechanism to check whether such people abide by the 14-day home quarantine norm.

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