As a video showing a large number of tourists taking a splash at Mussoorie’s Kempty falls, without wearing masks or maintaining social distancing norms, went viral, it raised concerns across the country. With a third wave of COVID looming large, such overcrowding and callous behavivour have made experts and state administration worried. The authorities have now decided to restrict visitors at the falls.
“Now only 50 tourists are allowed at Kempty Falls (waterfall) in Mussorie; can’t stay at the spot beyond half an hour. A check-post to be set up to monitor the tourists,” Iva Ashish Srivastava, Tehri Garhwal District Magistrate, was quoted by ANI.
The video, initially shared on Instagram by a travel handle 100ThingsInLudhiana on Wednesday, quickly went viral across social media platforms. “Not so empty views from Kempty Falls, Mussoorie this past weekend!!” the admin of the page wrote. Netizens reacted to the video with shock and incredulity with people saying this was a sureshot disaster and people’s “irresponsible” behaviour can soon lead to the third wave.
What makes the crowding at Kempty Falls even more worrying is the fact that this is not an isolated incident. Across the country, especially in hill stations, people have been thronging in large numbers as COVID curbs were lifted after months., which has been witnessing long traffic jams, after people started flocking to Shimla and Manali.
In fact, after several pictures of tourists thronging Manali went viral leading to the central government expressing concern about the violation of COVID-19 norms, the Himachal Pradesh government on July 7 took notice of the situation and instructed local authorities to ensure that people are following COVID protocols to stem the transmission of the virus. Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry also issued a warning. “People travelling to hill stations are not following COVID-appropriate behaviour. We can nullify the ease in restrictions again if protocols not complied with,” Agarwal said. Manali administration has now imposed a fine of Rs. 5,000 or 8 days in jail for tourists found without face masks, as per media reports.