Shimla entry-points choked as people head to state without documents; Covid safety norms gone for toss too

Tourists are coming with rapid test report, which is not permitted for travel as per ICMR guidelines

Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 7

Days after relaxation in e-pass norm for tourists and residents entering Shimla, a heavy rush of vehicles is being witnessed at Shoghi check-point, about 15 km from here, as a large number of people are heading to the state without the mandatory self-registration.

A large number of Himachalis living outside the state were trying to enter the state capital clandestinely without proper documents and 500 persons were quarantined by the district administration on Monday alone, said Shimla Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap.

“We cannot risk the lives of the residents. Thus, stringent norms have to be in place.... The tourists are coming with rapid test report, which is not permitted for travel as per ICMR guidelines. Thus, a lot of time is being consumed in checking," he said.

It takes at least five minutes to screen the documents of the occupants of one vehicle, resulting in long queues of vehicles at entry points.

In view of the growing rush of vehicles, a Tehsildar, Naib Tehsildar and HAS probationers have been deputed at check-points. An official deputed at Shoghi said those lacking documents shouldn't be allowed entry at the inter-state Parwanoo barrier itself.

 “The administration should increase staff strength at check-points and open more counters for verification of documents to avoid inconvenience," said Harish, a tourist from Punjab.

A large number of hoteliers are still apprehensive and opposing the decision to open the state for tourists with e Covid negative report and five day advance booking in hotels.

A large number of people entering the state are neither wearing masks nor adhering to social distancing, increasing the risk of Covid spread.

Some hoteliers, meanwhile, are apprehensive and opposing the decision to open the state for tourists.

"The tourists are freely moving in the town, creating scare among locals," said a hotelier. The tourists too are unhappy due to the hassle of long wait at check-points.

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