When seven-year-old Sumesh from Banda district of Uttar Pradesh was dragged into the sea by rough waves during his recent visit to Rameswaram, three tourist wardens jumped into the sea, rescued the boy, provided first aid and handed him over to his parents.

In other incidents, tourist wardens arrived on the scene and rescued as pair of lovers from Kerala planning to commit suicide at Devil's Kitchen in Kodaikanal; intervened to shift the unclaimed body of a foreigner in Udhagamandalam; enabled Sivakumar from Washermanpet to get back his handbag containing ATM card, cash, digital camera and mobile in Rameswaram; provided help to mentally retarded people in Mamallapuram.

Timely intervention

The timely intervention by the wardens in these cases is an eye-opener for several tourists, who are now confident that they could be relied upon during exigencies.

Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) has appointed Tourist Wardens and Executive Security Officers in Mamallapuram, Kodaikanal, Rameswaram, Udhagamandalam and Kanyakumari.

According to TTDC officials, they were appointed on December 31, 2010 not only to promote tourism but also provide help during exigencies.

They had made their presence felt to tourists, including foreigners, with their timely assistance in solving disputes, recovering stolen valuables, arranging transport at reasonable cost and getting refund from hotel managements.

Hugh Murray of England has thanked the Tourist Warden for enabling him to get a refund from the hotel management, which did not have a refund policy.

In Kanyakumari, the wardens conducted a special check and confiscated banned plastic bags and packaged food items sold beyond their expiry date; enabled foreigners to take part in Pongal festival in a nearby village; and advised touts against harassing the tourists.

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