Sonia Gandhi’s rally to hamper tourist flow to Shimla

May 1st, 2009 - 3:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Shimla, May 1 (IANS) Tourists coming to the Himachal Pradesh capital for a weekend break will find prime destinations out of bounds as Congress president Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to address an election rally on the Ridge Saturday.
Gandhi’s visit to the hill station has also left hoteliers unhappy as they were expecting a heavy rush of tourists wanting to escape from the sizzling plains.

On an average, approximately 25,000 to 35,000 tourists from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi beat the heat here on summer weekends.

“Last week, more than 20,000 tourists were in town. This time we were expecting the crowd to swell by another 10,000 but the sudden announcement of the public rally has dashed our hopes of brisk business,” said Dinesh Gupta of the Himani Group of Hotels.

“Some of our reservations have been cancelled after the announcement of the Congress rally,” said D.P. Bhatia of Clarke’s Hotel, a venture of the Oberoi Group.

According to police, the tourists are also expected to encounter traffic bottlenecks on the route to the hill station with over 100,000 Congress supporters heading there for the rally.

“The roads linking Shimla and nearby tourist areas are expected to remain choked,” said Superintendent of Police R.M. Sharma.

He said the tourist destinations that will be most affected by Gandhi’s rally are Annadale, where her chopper will land, the Mall and the Cart Road connecting the city with National Highway 22.

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