Caught off guard, officials fail to regulate tourists

HUGE PILE-UP: A large number of vehicles queue up at Bharachukki in Kollegal taluk, Chamarajnagar on Sunday.

The Police department, Tourism department, Forest department and the respective district administrations have been a failure in both guiding and regulating the sea of tourists visiting the Gaganachukki and Bharachukki waterfalls across the River Cauvery.

Thousands of tourists made a beeline to enjoy the bounty, splendor and beauty of nature at Gaganachukki waterfalls in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district and Bharachukki waterfalls in Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district. However, they were left suffering and fuming at the authorities concerned for the utter neglect in managing the tourist destinations.

The two major tourist hotspots in the borders of Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts lack basic facilities to meet the needs of the visitors. Nearly two lakh tourists visited the Gaganachukki and Bharachukki falls on Sunday. Parking space and traffic movement were the major issues on Sunday in both the places. The eight-km-long road from Gaganachukki to Bharachukki is narrow and the traffic came to a stand still, due to the influx of the vehicles. Vehicles parked by the roadside, due to unavailability of parking space, added to the woes of the traffic snarl.

The traffic snarls grew up to a few kilometres on either sides of the roads at both the places. Besides, the anarchy at the parking lots and the lack of security near the falls, which are dangerous locations, irked the tourists.

While there is a provision to park 60 vehicles near Gaganachukki, nearly 200 vehicles can be parked at Bharachukki. But, due to the rush, the vehicles were made to park alongside the road, creating a traffic jam. “Not only tourists, even Mysuru Deputy Commissioner and a few other top level officials, had to face difficulties and walked for nearly three kilometers to reach the falls,” a forest official claimed. Earlier, a private land was used for parking at Gaganachukki, but, now the land owner has cultivated it, thus there is no sufficient parking space in the region. According to sources, in 2006, the government had planned a cable car from Shivanasamudra to Gaganachukki. But, the project did not take off.

The authorities claim that the inconvenience was due to unexpected rush. Even ticket collection was not possible due to the crowd. During normal weekends, 15,000 to 20,000 people visit the falls, but, on Sunday, the crowd was almost ten times high. More than two lakh people might have visited the falls, he said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kollegal Sub-Division, Puttamadaiah claimed that there were adequate police personnel to guide the crowd. He said, he was on the spot from noon and an inspector, four sub-inspectors and 40 plus police constables were deputed near the falls.

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Caught off guard, officials fail to regulate tourists

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