After four months, Murree sees flow of tourists

Updated 08 Aug 2020

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Restrictions on tourism were to be officially lifted on Aug 8 but Punjab govt lifted barriers on Aug 6. — Online/File
Restrictions on tourism were to be officially lifted on Aug 8 but Punjab govt lifted barriers on Aug 6. — Online/File

MURREE: After opening of tourist spots, people thronged Murree and adjoining areas amid deployment of extra police force and traffic wardens with personal protective equipment (PPE).

The government had imposed restrictions on the entry of tourists in the resort town since the outbreak of Covid-19 four months ago.

The restrictions on the tourism sector were to be officially lifted on Aug 8 but the Punjab government lifted the barriers put at the entry points of Murree and Satra Meel toll plaza on Aug 6.

However, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to open from Aug 10 for which standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be finalised in two or three days.

Long queues of vehicles caused traffic jams on various roads of Murree and hotels were filled to their capacity.

Despite a ban on entry to the hill station during the Eid holidays, tourists had reached Murree. Traders and hoteliers expressed satisfaction over lifting of the lockdown, as majority of people are dependent on tourism industry.

Following the government’s decision to open tourist spots, the Rawalpindi police and chief traffic officer took special measures to ensure the safety of tourists visiting Murree and provide them hassle-free traffic flow.

An additional police force, including traffic police with personal protective equipment (PPE), has been deployed in Murree.

Rawalpindi City Police Officer Ahsan Younis ordered the police to strictly follow SPOs to prevent the spread of the virus.

The CPO directed SSP Operations Tariq Wilayat, the CTO Rawalpindi and SP Saddar to supervise the security and traffic arrangements, especially on Independence Day.

“Though coronavirus cases have reduced, precautionary measures, including wearing face masks and gloves by the police, must be ensured during duty hours,” the CPO said.

A spokesperson for the city traffic police Rawalpindi said seven special pickets enforcing ban on pubic entry into Murree have been removed while 96 traffic wardens, including 11 inspectors, have been deployed in Murree along with 33 extra wardens and junior wardens.

DSP Murree Saeed Akhtar will be leading the traffic squad which will be deployed in three shifts to maintain traffic.

The deployment of traffic police and 125 extra police personnel will remain till the end of the tourist season. On the other hand, the city traffic police have also issued a traffic advisory for the tourists to ensure their safe and secure journey.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2020