Traffic gridlock on Kalka-Shimla Highway as tourists make beeline for hills
Amid the Sunday curfew in Chandigarh and Mohali, tourists made a beeline for the hills via Panchkula, resulting in massive traffic jams on the Kalka-Shimla National Highway, near Parwanoo.
Notably, the Himachal Pradesh government had on Friday allowed entry of tourists into the state without a negative Covid test. A Covid e-pass is still required. There was no weekend curfew in Panchkula, while Chandigarh and Mohali had imposed it on Sunday only.
Parwanoo deputy superintendent of police Yogesh Rolta, said, “The number of vehicles has increased since Friday, as tourists from places like Punjab, Chandigarh and Delhi are visiting the hills. There was an unexpected rush on Saturday, which led to an hour-long jam.”
He said a video of the serpentine queues, which went viral on social media, was from Saturday. “On Saturday, there were over 5,000 vehicles and on Sunday, their number was around 3,000. In pre-Covid times, the number used to be much higher.”
“There was traffic because we have to ensure that everyone had an e-pass. It takes time, as many people have not registered themselves and we have to guide them. This delays the process, leading to traffic jams,” Rolta said.
Dinesh Kumar, an advocate, said he was stuck in traffic for over an hour.
₹64,500 collected in fine for Sunday curfew violations
Chandigarh Police collected ₹64,500 in fine from challans issued for violating the Sunday curfew in Chandigarh. Seven challans were issued for not wearing masks in public, 76 for not following social distancing and 40 for spitting in public. Police also rounded up 207 people. The traffic police issued 28 challans and impounded two vehicles.