Chunchi waterfalls turns spectacle, but has little security for tourists

Chunchi waterfalls turns spectacle, but has little security for tourists

The bountiful southwest monsoon has brought many waterfalls alive, including the Chunchi Falls off Kanakapura Road. But tourists visit the falls at their own risk as officials are elusive about who will manage security.

The falls are located just 60 km from Bengaluru, enroute to Sangam and Mekedatu, in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. The falls come under Ramanagaram police division and are located just a few kilometres away from MP D K Suresh's party office in Kanakapura.

On any given day, between 50 and 100 people visit the spot, with the numbers tripling during weekends. With help from locals, tourists trek through rocky and muddy pastures to get a glimpse of the "mini Jog Falls" and revel in its waters. The two falls are formed by the Arkavathy and Vrushabhavathy rivers which join Cauvery just before Sangam.

A senior police officer at Ramanagaram said: "There have been no incidents at the waterfall this year. Hence, there is no need for round-the-clock security. Routine inspection is done during weekends. But if there is any special need, arrangements can be made."

The tourism department, which claims to have installed cautionary and no-selfie zone boards at tourist places like waterfalls and nature adventure sites, seems to have ignored Chunchi Falls. Tourists are instead greeted with a photograph of two girls who died at the falls and another board which lists 32 deaths and advises safety, with no timeline or department signature.

"We have handed over the management of the location to the Ramanagaram district administration. They have to look into it," said a senior tourism department official.

Ramanagaram deputy commissioner B R Mamta said a project report to provide facilities like toilets and a checkpost at a cost of Rs 10 lakh had been prepared. She said two home guards were deployed a year back at the waterfalls, but no check was made on them after that.

A proposal has been placed before the state government to increase security.

K D Srinivas, assistant conservator of forests, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary said: "I will look into the matter of security since it has nothing to do with the tourism department. Complaints of illegal activities have also come to my notice."

Tourists are also greeted with the sight of empty soft drink bottles, chips and plastic packets littered all over. Locals collect all plastic bottles, packets and littered food items and set them on fire every day. "We are aware of the environmental hazards, but we cannot let the junk pile up. There is no garbage collection facility here. Tourists are irresponsible," said Leelamma, a local.

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