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Concern over vandalisation of Ooty botanical garden

D. Radhakrishnan
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System to impose fine and post security guards planned

Boards have failed to deter vandalism at the Government Botanical Garden in Udhagamandalam. — Photo: D. Radhakrishnan
Boards have failed to deter vandalism at the Government Botanical Garden in Udhagamandalam. — Photo: D. Radhakrishnan

Until a few years ago, display boards in various parts of the Government Botanical Garden (GBG) here contained messages which sought the cooperation of tourists in maintaining the facility properly. With the appeal for cooperation failing to produce the desired results, the authorities in charge of the garden decided to change their strategy and urged the visitors to coordinate with them in taking care of the scenic spot. Regrettably, that too has fell on deaf ears as a result of which, vandalism has become a major source of concern for the authorities of the 55 acre garden, described by many as one of the best laid gardens in Asia.

According to the Joint Director of Horticulture, N. Mani, until a few decades ago the watch and ward staff mostly remained in the background as very few tourists broke the rules of the garden. However, now they are forced to be constantly on their toes on account of the tendency among an increasing number of tourists, particularly the youth to defy the rules and in the process damage the lawns, flowers and trees.

Often the approach adopted by such tourists is, “we have paid rupees 30 to enter the garden so we will do what we like”, Mr. Mani told The Hindu here on Sunday.

He pointing out that it is not easy to maintain the garden as a lot of hard work and money goes into the growing of flowers and preservation of other features and that insensitive tourists indulged in destructive activities without thinking of all these things.

Out of the 22 lakh tourists who visit the garden every year, about eleven lakhs come between spring and the South West monsoon season, when the garden wears an alluring look. Since both appeals for cooperation and coordination are falling on deaf ears, “we are seriously thinking of speaking in the language that such tourists understand”, he added.

The authorities are planning to post uniformed security guardsto ensure that the tourists enjoy the facility without causing any damage to the plants. A system of imposing fines will also be evolved.

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