Major waterfalls to be barricaded for tourists’ safety

Major waterfalls to be barricaded for tourists’ safety

Water falls are only meant to be seen, not ventured into is the new mantra of tourism department to ensure tourist safety. To drive this point, this monsoon season, the department is barricading all major waterfalls in the state which come under the tourism zone.

B Ramu, Director, Tourism Department, said safety was the top priority. “Tourist mitras, police and guides have been deployed at falls for safety. But still there have been accidents in the past. So, to avoid any untoward incidents all major water falls are being barricaded. People should see and enjoy the waterfalls only from a distance. This will also ensure cleanliness,” he said.

Earlier, the department had put up warning boards such as “No Selfie Zone”, “No Swimming Zone”  “No Photography Zone” and “No Entry Zone.” But, many tourists did not take them seriously. Many adventure and nature lovers would take a plunge in the water and suffer grievous injuries.

The department has already started this exercise with around 25 major waterfalls like Gaganachukki (Mandya district), Bharachukki (Chamarajanagar district), Jog (Shivamogga district) and Abbey Falls (Kodagu district). The department is surveying the waterfalls and assessing the footfall to ensure safety. A diary of all waterfalls is also being created with route, location, time to visit and what is permitted.

The deparment faces constraints in executing this plan as some waterfalls are in private areas over which it has no control. In such cases, onus of tourist safety rests on private operators. The department also cannot do anything at waterfalls in forest areas where  Forest Act and rules apply.

The safety measure of the department has evoked a mixed reaction from tourists and adventure enthusiasts. While some have welcomed the move, others differ.

“What is the point of going to waterfalls when one cannot enjoy the water. Since government departments are unable to ensure safety, they are restricting people,” said Subodh L, a tourist and adventure enthusiast.

Dev Balaji, trekker and founder of Nature Admire Adventure said there should not be complete barricading. A small safe zone should be opened for people to enjoy the waterfalls with life jackets and rescuers. He felt barricading is essential in places with a footfall of over 500-1,000.

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