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Nightmare to enter Himachal, thousands of cars line up after Covid rule relaxed

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As the Himachal Pradesh government did away with the need of a mandatory Covid-19 negative report to enter the state, as many as 3,000 vehicles lined up at the Parwanoo barrier on Sunday. Tourists from the neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttarakhand got themselves registered at the barrier to enter Himachal.

On Saturday, as many as 2,300 vehicles crossed the Parwanoo barrier. Though the requirement of RT-PCR has been lifted, the need for an e-pass is still there. As vehicles queued up to enter the Himachal, authorities had to ensure that everyone carried an e-pass. This process led to massive traffic jams at the border. “There was traffic because we have to ensure that everyone has an e-pass. It takes time, as many people have not registered themselves and we have to guide them,” Parwanoo deputy superintendent of police, Yogesh Rolta, told Hindustan Times.

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Many tourists were stuck in the traffic jam for hours as they looked to enter the hill station as a respite from the peak summer season. The peak tourist season for Himachal Pradesh starts in April and ends in June. The lifting of Covid curbs is also a push to revive the tourism industry in the state. “The entry to the state without negative report is a good step taken by the government. This will definitely give relief to the tourism sector because a good number of tourists are expected to arrive in coming days,” MK Seth, president Himachal Pradesh Tourism Stake Holders’ Association, told Hindustan Times.

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The Himachal Pradesh government’s cabinet met on Saturday to take a decision to remove the need of RT-PCR to travel to the state. As the country sees a declining second wave of coronavirus with 70,421 cases registered in last 24 hours, more states are easing Covid curbs.

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