UT Govt closes Pahalgam for day-picnickers on weekends

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People Found Roaming Sans Masks To Be Fined Rs 1000, No Haphazard Tents To Be Allowed

Anantnag: UT administration on Wednesday ordered closure of famous tourist resort of Pahalgam for day-picnickers on weekends so as to prevent “possible COVID-19 resurgence and save ecology of the fragile area”.

However, people who have confirmed booking in hotels in Pahalgam shall be allowed on producing valid proof, said Anantnag Deputy Commissioner Dr Piyush Singla, who also happens to the chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority.

“It has been observed that a large number of local tourist are thronging Pahalgam tourist destination especially on the weekends,” he said, adding the the heavy influx of tourists poses danger of resurgence of Covid-19 pandemic in view of possible violation of covid appropriate behavior.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, he said, has also reported that unrestricted and unabated influx of tourists and day picnickers to Pahalgam may seriously undermine Covid-19 mitigation efforts put in place by the administration.

Pointing out that a large number of tourists are pitching tents in an unregulated manner at a number of places in the meadows of Pahalgam tourist resort, thereby posing plausible danger to fragile eco-system of the tourist place, he ordered that on Saturdays and Sundays, only such persons or tourists shall be allowed to proceed towards Pahalgam who possess a proof of confirmed booking in the hotels of famous health resort. “No day-picnickers shall be allowed to visit Pahalgam on Saturday and Sunday,” he said in the order, he added.

SDPOs Srigufwara and Aishmuqam have been asked to establish checkpoints at Aishmuqam, Langanbal, Nunwan and Srigufwara to ensure that only “bonafide tourists having advance hotel bookings are allowed an entry.”

The Deputy Commissioner also directed SSP Anantnag to work out the modalities for restraining the influx of traffic at various Nakas in Anantnag town enroute to Pahalgam so that unnecessary build up of vehicles at Pahalgam can be discouraged.

He has also directed concerned officers including SSP Anantnag and CEO Tourist Development Authority Tehsildar Pahalgam and Assistant Director, Tourism Pahalgam have been asked to carry out detailed inspection of all the hotels of Pahalgam to check whether all measures for ensuring covid appropriate behaviour have been put in place. Also, a fine of Rs 1000 shall be imposed on locals, tourists and hotel staff found roaming without masks, the order said.

The Deputy Commissioner has also prohibited haphazard pitching of tents at the tourist destination and asked officials to remove immediately any haphazardly erected tent. The Deputy Commissioner also directed CEO PDA to explore possibility of designating a particular area for camping and giving permission for erecting tents at such place with prior permission.