A couple of years ago, Courtallam Town Panchayat banned the use of soap, shampoo, shikakai, etc, in all waterfalls to protect the purity of water and the environment from the accumulation of non-degradable plastic covers and wrappers, but showing scant respect for this order the tourists freely use these products under the “watchful” eyes of the police.
The then Collector M.Jayaraman took another positive measure to save the water flowing in the Main Falls from being polluted. As the Main Falls is getting water from the Shenbagadevi Falls, situated about 3.5 km away from Courtallam, Mr.Jayaraman banned bathing in the falls, which checked pollution of water coming to the Main Falls. Only the devotees going to Shenbagadevi Amman Temple were allowed to go beyond Chittraruvi.
Though this ban is still in effect, thanks to the vigil by the Forest Department personnel, the ban on shampoo and soaps is not enforced with vigour as the Town Panchayat itself is not keen on it. It has neither deployed its personnel to enforce the ban nor instructed the policemen on duty to do so.
The lack of determination on the part of the local administration is obvious as the tourists liberally use toilet and detergent soaps, shampoo and shikakai powder at the Main Falls and the Five Falls throughout the “season” without any fear or compunction.
“In Kerala, the Forest Department has banned the use of all these products in the Paalaruvi, situated just 35 km from Courtallam, and those found ignoring the ban are slapped a hefty fine. Since there is no such mechanism in place in Courtallam,” says Senthur Pandian, a Courtallam-based trader.
As the ‘season’ is all set to start in this “Spa of the South” within a week the public expect the authorities to enforce the ban strictly.
Courtallam Town Panchayat Chairperson Latha Ashok said she would discuss this issue with the officials and the councillors before enforcing the ban this season.