Cops advise tourists to wear masks properly while strolling, in Shimla on Sunday. (Deepak Sansta/HT)
Cops advise tourists to wear masks properly while strolling, in Shimla on Sunday. (Deepak Sansta/HT)

Violation of Covid norms: Himachal police deploy extra force on hotspots

The deployment will be till August 31 and maybe extended if the situation doesn’t improve, says Himachal’s director general of police Sanjay Kundu
By Gaurav Bisht, Shimla
PUBLISHED ON JUL 12, 2021 01:19 AM IST

After reports of large gatherings, violation of Covid norms and incidents of hooliganism involving tourists, the Himachal Pradesh Police have decided to deploy additional force to enforce norms and maintain law and order at the key tourists hotspots.

The move comes against after a recent meeting convened by the HP chief minister Jai Ram Thakur wherein he had raised concerns over the crowding and flouting of norms at hill resorts and ordered strict action against the visitors who were found violating the guidelines.

Tourists have been thronging the hill stations of Himachal Pradesh ever since the state government lifted curbs on entry. Shimla, Dalhousie, Dharmshala and Manali are witnessing heavy influx from the northern Indian states, including Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttarakhand. The tourist rush doubles on the weekends. Nearly 10,000 vehicles crossed the interstate barrier in Parwanoo on Saturday.

However, visitors could be seen flouting SOPs at the most of the tourist places and at some instances, also create ruckus when asked to adopt Covid-appropriated behaviour by locals and police.

Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had also warned that the crowding at tourists places and violation of norms by visitors may result in a lethal third wave in the country.

Himachal’s director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Kundu in a circular has asked the Indian Reserve Battalions (IRBN) in the state to provide force to be deployed at tourist places to ensure enforcement of Covid protocols.

“The deployment will be till August 31 and maybe extended if the situation doesn’t improve,” said Kundu.

He said the one company from 6th IRBN Kollar will be deployed at Shimla and another at Kasauli.

Three reserves — one male reserve, one female reserve from 5th IRBN Bassi and one reserve from 1st IRBN Bangarh — will be deployed at Dharamshala and McLeodganj. One company from 3rd IRBN Pandoh has been sent to Kasauli and one reserved to Rohtang Tunnel. One reserve from 4th IRBN Jangalberi has been sent to Dalhousie.

The SSPs of districts concerned have been asked to provide stay of the force at a safer place and the commandants of the battalions will coordinate with district police authorities for their smooth deployment.

The state police from October 2020 till the first week of July have issued 88,369 challans for violation of Covid norms and realised more than 5 crore as fine.

Last year, from March to November, 32,670 challans were issued and over 1.35 crore was collected as fine.

Himachal logs 63 fresh cases

Dharamshala Himachal on Sunday recorded 63 fresh Covid cases, taking the state’s tally to 2,03,626 while death toll mounted to 3,475 after one more patient died of the contagion.

Of the new cases, 13 were reported in Chamba, nine in Kangra, seven each in Mandi and Shimla, six each in Hamirpur, Kullu and Una, four in Solan, three in Lahaul-Spiti and two in Bilaspur.

The recoveries reached 1,98,882 after 132 people recuperated. Active cases have come down to 1,247.

Kangra is the worst-hit district with a total of 46,058 cases followed by Mandi (27,393), Shimla (25,374), Solan (22,338), Sirmaur (15,353), Hamirpur (14,450), Una (13,367), Bilaspur (12,777), Chamba (11,523), Kullu (8,977), Kinnaur (3,278) and Lahaul-Spiti (2,738).

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