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Updated: September 1, 2013 00:39 IST

Tour operator pays for hellish trip

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Pleasure jaunt turns into a nightmare as tourists sleep in a bus in the middle of a forest

A tour operator has been asked to compensate his customers for a pleasure trip to Munnar and Thekkadi in Kerala that turned into a nightmare. The tourists not only had to skip much of the promised sightseeing, but were also in for a rude shock when they had to sleep in the bus in the middle of a forest, rather than in the warmth and security of a resort.

The operator, Canara Travels ‘n’ Holidays, Rajajinagar, has been directed to pay Rs. 3,000 each to 16 persons, by the 3rd Additional Bangalore Urban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, after a complaint was filed by Ashwini and others.

In their complaint, they said that during the three-day, two-night tour organised in December 2011, most of the tourists spots were skipped and they were forced to sleep inside the bus at night. The tour operator had collected Rs. 3,700 per person for the “nightmarish trip”.

They complained that the driver suddenly stopped the bus in the middle of Bandipur forest, claiming that no vehicles would be allowed to pass the forest area till morning.

They spent a sleepless night in the bus, gripped by fear, they charged. They also claimed they were shown some wild goats, a small lake, and were not taken to Thekkadi at all.

The forum noted that the tourists were made to sleep inside the bus in the Bandipur forest area on the way back too.

The movement of vehicles in the eco-sensitive area is banned between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The tour operator blamed the travel restriction for the situation and claimed the best facilities were provided to them.

The operator added that the trip to Thekkadi was cancelled after they received information about a law and order problem there.

The bench, comprising forum president T. Rajashekaraiah and member Subhashini, held that for a regular tour operator, the tour planning was defective, as the tourists spent around 60 hours in travel and at least half the night in the forest area on two occasions.

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