Public opinion should be mobilised to stop further deterioration
With complaints relating to the appalling condition of the Ooty-Mettupalayam National Highway mounting, work on improving a traffic garden below Burliar has raised hopes that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will be able to check further deterioration.
Many tourists told The Hindu that among the glaring shortcomings during the current season was the poor condition of the highway which was riddled with ruts and potholes at many places, including busy stretches near Udhagamandalam.
They were subjecting motorists to considerable inconvenience and causing damage to their vehicles besides increasing the chances of accidents.
Echoing the views expressed by tourists who had visited this popular holiday destination in the last few years, they opined that both beautification and conservation measures need to be stepped up in the Nilgiris in general and Udhagamandalam in particular.
Only through legislation and executive actions on a sustained basis can the reputation of the hill station be kept intact, they said adding that the people should wake up to the destruction and mobilise public opinion to stop the degradation. At all costs, the hill station should be saved for posterity. Some of them recalled better days in Udhagamandalam when the roads were well maintained and amenities could be depended on.
The tourists mostly from crowded and noisy cities came here to relax, enjoy the salubrious climate and see the scenic spots.
The standard of sanitation and hygiene in public places should improve and the roads made suitable for the increasing number of vehicles.
The district should enjoy the benefit of a proper tourism promotion and traffic management plan.
If the current environment degradation was allowed to continue, it would not augur well for the future of tourism here.
Many of the residents said that though many VIPs and senior State and Central government officials made a beeline to Udhagamandalam every summer, signs of infrastructure development taking place were conspicuous by their absence.