Tourists to landslide sites may be flirting with danger

Tourists to landslide sites may be flirting with danger

many people are coming to see landslides like this and are venturing to interior regions which have been declared unsafe. dh photo/b h shivakumar

Volunteers who come to flood-hit areas apart, Kodagu is attracting people from nearby cities who come seeking the thrill of visiting the disaster zones at a time when officials have warned that the sustained intermittent rain may cause more landslides.

Most of them are travelling between Madikeri and Virajpet, Mysuru and other nearby towns. Police officials said many sneak through barricades set up to screen such travellers. “They say they are village residents going to check on their houses or give other reasons. Many times, we turn them back,” a police officer said.

At Balaji Estate in Makkandur, several people stood near the edge of a deep crevice that has cut into the road to take a selfie. Some of them were local residents, while others have “come to see the landslides with own eyes”.

Superintendent of Police Suman D Pennekar said 14 checkposts had been set up within Madikeri to divert people entering these areas.

“We are also screening people at seven district border checkposts. Some people pose as local residents and enter these areas,” she said.

A cab driver said he initially refused to take even media persons to the landslides in places like Hebbettageri, Karekatte and other places. “Some said it would be okay even if I drop them two to three kilometres from the sites. Tourism is already down. What should I do,” he asked.

DC’s warning

Deputy Commissioner P I Sreevidya on Sunday warned that action would be taken against hotels, resorts, homestays and other places facilitating the visit of tourists to areas hit by landslides.

The district administration had previously barred hotels, resorts and homestays from catering to tourists till August 31, considering the safety of visitors. “But some establishments are violating these rules,” she said.