HC directs Tamil Nadu govt to spruce up Courtallam falls

In a move to spruce up the Courtallam falls in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, Madras High Court on Wednesday issued 33 directives to the state government, including banning oils, shampoos and other toiletry items in the bathing area.

The court issued the directives in response to a PIL seeking better maintenance of the falls in tune with its historical fame.

A division bench of the High Court comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and S Vaidyanathan directed officials to ensure that the prohibitive items were not carried to the bathing area by seizing them and punishing those violating the ban.

With a series of waterfalls and cascades dotting its landscape along with the ubiquitous health resorts, Courtallam, situated in the Western Ghats, has been given the sobriquet ‘Spa of South India’.

“During the season, several lakh (of people) have visited Courtallam, but there was no regulation by the police. Traffic was not being regulated despite a charge being collected for vehicles. There were no rooms for changing clothes for men and women", the PIL, filed by an advocate, R Krishnasamy, contended.

The court’s directives also come in the wake of findings by Advocate-Commissioner T S R Venkataramana,  a former MLA, who had inspected all the falls and filed the report last month.

The bench cited the report which highlighted poor maintenance such as pits in the old Courtallam area, dilapidated toilets, poor lighting and lack of dressing room for women.

Besides banning soaps and other items, the directive also said safety pillars and railings, made of materials that would not rust, should be erected, fixed and painted before the beginning of the fresh picnic season.

The bench also directed authorities to move liquor shops near the falls to faraway places and provide bar facilities so that drinking in open areas, especially near the falls, could be prevented.

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