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Govt says tourist places are closed but scores of people throng to Pahalgam

Anantnag, June 28: Administration may be saying that tourist places are closed in Kashmir in view of COVID-19 but the reality is something different on the ground. Scores of people are thronging daily to the picturesque Pahalgam even without wearing masks or maintaining social distancing. Authorities have closed tourist places in Kashmir to contain the spread of coronvirus. Surprisingly, the authorities are allowing people to visit the Pahalgam. On Sunday, this reporter found that hundreds of people had visited Pahalgam. Some had even erected tents.  “Hundreds of people visit here daily. Although the government says tourist places are closed for visitors, but people are allowed to visit Pahalgam,” an official said. The official said the orders of the government are not implemented on the ground. “We fail to understand if tourist places are closed then how come these people reach here,” he said. People are being allowed to go to Pahalgam despite SDM Pahalagm on June 23 issued an order, which reads, “It has been observed that during the past few days the local tourists have started to come to Pahalgam. They have tried to pitch tents and stay on the banks of the river. In view of the COVID-19, the flow needs to be stopped. It is therefore ordered that all checkpoints be strengthened and all tourist activity be stopped till further orders. Tehsildar and SHO concerned will ensure the implementation of the restrictions in the area. Besides I/C tourist police will render all the assistance to SHO Pahalgam for implementation of the order.” SDM Pahalgam when asked if people were allowed to visit the tourist place, he said he will talk later. Later he did not pick up calls. Divisional Commissioner P K Pole recently said that that administration will inform the public once the decision will be taken regarding the reopening of tourist places. “Currently cases are increasing so it may not happen for sometime but yes we will inform you once the decision will be taken,” he said.(KINS)  

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