The passenger traffic on the Kalka-Shimla heritage Railway has reduced drastically following a rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
In five trains and one chair car, only a few tourists were seen boarding and arriving at the heritage railway station at Shimla.
Joginder Singh, Station Superintendent, Shimla railway station said, "We have five regular trains and one rail car on Kalka-Shimla railway but the number of passengers has dropped because of COVID-19. Now we are left with 30 per cent to 40 per cent of our previous number of bookings. After the Himachal Pradesh government has issued an advisory for the negative RT-PCR report for Covid-19, the tourists are not coming."
One of the tourists coming from Delhi said that he had planned earlier and could not cancel his tour "but it's better to stay safe at home".
Sujay, a tourist from Delhi said," As the COVID-19 cases are increasing across the country it is not safe to travel. I have planned earlier and had done advance booking. It was tough to get back the advance money which is why I came. As far as the negative report for COVID-19 is concerned, I was tested positive for Coronavirus earlier and later negative so I have the negative report with me. We still need to be cautious and should follow all guidelines."
The tourists from Neighbouring states are also in a state of fear. One of the tourists coming from Chandigarh said it was tough to get tested for Covid-19 because of a fear of contamination of coronavirus.
"I had advance bookings and has planned earlier to visit here. I had to conduct my RTPCR test in a hurry, I am tested negative, I have arrived here but I would suggest everyone stay safe at home. Travelling is not advisable I had to come as I was not able to get money back from the hotels." said a tourist from Chandigarh.
The Kalka Shimla railway line was declared UNESCO's world heritage line in 2008. It has been a great tourist attraction but for over a year now the number of passengers has dropped amid the second wave of the pandemic.
( With inputs from ANI )
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