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HP can be 'quarantine destination' of India: CM

Shimla: Sixty days after lockdown public transport services, both government and private, will finally hit the roads from June 1 in Himachal Pradesh.

The government also hinted at making Himachal Pradesh as "Quarantine destination" of India as a step to revive tourism industry.

The state cabinet, which met here under Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur gave its green signal to the transport department to resume operation on all the routes barring inter-state services. But, AC buses will still remain off the roads.

"The buses will be allowed to run with 60 per cent capacity strictly adhering to the social distancing norms. The operators, however, will not be permitted to drop or pick up passengers from the containment zones. Rest all inter and intra-district services will be functional," said Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, who briefed mediapersons about cabinet decisions.

The taxi services will also be permitted from Monday. The condition of obtaining e-passes have been waived off for the taxi operators but norms of social distancing will apply.

The government also decided in favour of allowing barber shops and saloons.

Vendors selling eatables and fast food items will also be allowed to resume their daily routines but only for carry-home facilities.

The schools and colleges will remain closed. But, the private schools have been strictly told to charge only tuition fee from the students, and not any other dues.

"The school managements will continue online teaching. No student, who hasn't paid tuition fee, will allowed to be debarred or forced to pay fee. The fee will also be charged only at old rates.Means no hike is permitted," the minister declared.

Quarantine destination

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur admitted that spike in Coronavirus cases, now bordering 185, has caused an alarm, but said most of these cases are amongst returnees from the red-zones.

"Fortunately, all such cases were detected in the quarantine centres. There is no fear of any spread in the community. We still expect some rise as more special trains were reaching Himachal Pradesh in next two three days. Thereafter, the government will impose

restrictions on bulk arrivals of people from other places,"he said.

On his proposal for opening Himachal Pradesh's doors to make it as "Quarantine destination" of India for those requiring to come to the hills, Chief Minister said "this will help in reviving the tourism sector which has suffered a major blow."

The weather conditions are good in Himachal Pradesh. Some selected places could be identified and allowed to be converted as "Quarantine destinations" for people from outside recovering from Coronavirus infection. These, however, will be as par norms of the central government.

Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri reacted sharply to the idea and termed it as absurd and highly controversial move.

"How can Chief Minister make such irresponsible offers in the state, which was struggling against the COVID. There has already been a sharp rise in the states," he cautioned.

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