Shimla | Jagran News Desk: A day after visuals of crowding by tourists at Shimla's iconic Ridge were reported, the administration of Himachal Pradesh capital has decided to limit the number of tourists at many locations frequented by the tourists in Shimla, including The Ridge.

The Shimla administration on Sunday said that it will now allow only a limited number of people at Ridge as well as the Mall Road. To minimise the risk of COVID-19 spread, the authorities said that they will allow only the senior citizens to sit on the benches at these locations.

“Only a limited number of tourists & people would be allowed to enter Shimla’s Ridge & Mall Road. Only senior citizens would be allowed to sit on benches. Will request the people to get out of the crowd if there are a large number of people,” Shimla's Deputy Commissioner Adiya Neg was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. "If they (the tourists) don't understand to abide by the law in place, then challaning is being done. To reduce the crowd from the Ridge area, we shall first remove sitting benches and overcrowding will not be seen likely in near future," said the Deputy Commissioner.

 

The development comes after concerns were raised following the crowding of tourist-favourite locations in Shimla.

After visuals of huge crowds caught the attention of many in the country including India's COVID-19 task force and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur warned against the violation of the government-mandated norms such as social distancing and wearing of masks. “We want tourists to visit our state but they must follow Covid protocols," the Chief Minister was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

In Manali, those flouting COVID-19 protocol may get fined ₹5,000 or can be put in jail for seven days.

The hill stations like Shimla, Manali, Mussoorie and Nainital continue to receive heavy tourist footfall as the COVID-19 restrictions get eased in most parts of country following a steep decline in the active case count.
Himachal Pradesh alone has hosted nearly 7 lakh tourists in less than a month as of June-end.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma