Himachal Pradesh tourists influx hits record high amid COVID surge; 18,500 tourists arriving daily, sys DGP
Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu has said Himachal Pradesh Police have effectively tackled the challenge posed by incoming tourists amid the Covid-19 situation.
A record number of 18,500 tourists have been visiting Himachal Pradesh daily, whereas 7,500 tourists have been visiting the tourist hotspot Atal Tunnel Rohtang (ATR), said Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu on Monday. "Police have effectively tackled the challenge posed by incoming tourists amid Covid-19," added Kundu.
"We have never seen this much of tourists influx in Himachal Pradesh. It was also possible because of the Covid complaint behaviour of the tourist", added Sanjay Kundu.
The HP Police is facing two types of violations coming from the tourists -- flouting Covid guidelines and indulging in violence by bringing weapons with them, Kundu said.
The number of tourists visiting the hill state is much more nowadays as compared to normal, he added.
The entire police force is on ground as additional personnel have been deployed at the inter-state borders and tourist hotspots, including the Atal Tunnel, Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Kasauli and Shimla to search vehicles randomly for checking weapons and to check any COVID violations, he added.
Stating that HP is a disaster-prone state, the DGP further said the three companies of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) sanctioned for the hill state for prompt and efficient response at the time of calamities would hopefully be set up in the next six months.
Each of the three SDRF companies will be set up at Shimla, Kangra and Mandi, he said, adding that the process for procuring the land for setting up SDRF companies is on.
In view of the increased footfall of tourists in Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on Monday said that tourists cannot be stopped from entering the state. However, regulation is being done in crowded places.
He further added that it was not right to curb the tourists from coming as the tourism industry was badly hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Chief Minister's comments come after the Central Government raised concerns over tourists flouting Covid-19 safety protocols and overcrowding at several public places.
Several experts have urged people to take precautions amid the fear of an impending deadly third wave.
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