After celebrating New Year’s Day in Shimla, tourists left the town in a mess. Liquor bottles and plastic waste were littered all around the Ridge, Mall Road and other tourist spots. Despite the arrangement to handle tourist traffic on New Year’s Eve, roads were clogged on Saturday night and Sunday.
Long queues were seen on Cart Road. Police were told not to be harsh with tourists. “We were asked to cooperate with tourists celebrating New Year,” a cop on duty said, requesting anonymity. The Ridge witnessed a record rush on New Year’s Eve.
Drunken tourists and locals were involved in scuffles on the Ridge and Mall Road. People were also smoking in public. “Tourists were drinking on the lane leading to Mall Road from Lakkar Bazaar. Hooliganism was at its peak but the cops remained mute spectators,” Samriti Sharma, a resident of the town’s Sanjauli area said.
Some liquor shops were even open till midnight.
Shimla deputy mayor Tikender Singh Panwar said Shimla is a historic city and needs quality tourism. “We don’t need hooliganism. Traffic jams have become the order of the day. In the morning, liquor bottles, plastic waste were seen all around. This is not what Shimla deserves.”
Locals were also irked by the noise pollution. “Those celebrating New Year by drink didn’t even spare a thought for the area around the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC). There were some people in different groups cheering loudly just outside hospital,” he said.
Normally, the town generates 80 tonnes of waste per day (TPD) but on Sunday nearly 100 TPD waste was collected. Most of it was liquor and cold drink bottles.
The administration failed to put additional bins in the town and those available were full.
Such scenes were common in other tourist towns of Kufri and Narkanda. “People resorting to hooliganism in the name of celebration should not be tolerated,” says Amit Shyam, a Narkanda-based hotelier.
“We maintained law and order. There were hundreds of people on the Ridge, Mall and other parts of Shimla. There was not a single untoward incident,” Shimla superintendent of police (SP) DW Negi said.
Shimla police confiscated 182 of liquor bottles, including 144 English liquor and 38 country liquor, on Saturday night. As many as 191 vehicles were challaned under Motor Vehicles Act, while 36 people were challaned under the anti-smoking Act. Over 8,000 vehicles entered Shimla on Saturday.