Coimbatore

Activists call for strict action against trespassers to Kalhatti Falls

Fire and Rescue Services personnel continue their search for the two youngsters who are believed to have drowned in the Kalhatti waterfall on Sunday.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel continue their search for the two youngsters who are believed to have drowned in the Kalhatti waterfall on Sunday.  

Many illegal safari operators also include the waterfall as part of the tourist trail for people visiting Udhagamandalam and the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

The death of two youngsters who are believed to have drowned in Kalhatti Falls outside Udhagamandalam town, has led to activists calling for more stringent action against trespassers.

The waterfall, which has been officially closed to tourists for over four years due to a number of fatalities and injuries to visiting tourists, continues to remain a popular tourist spot as many illegal safari operators also include the waterfall as part of the tourist trail for people visiting Udhagamandalam and the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR). On Sunday, two youngsters, part of a group of seven who ventured into the area, are believed to have drowned in the plunge pool of the waterfall, with their bodies remaining untraceable.

G. Janardhanan, president of the Ooty Public Awareness Association, said that as a first step, there needs to be prominent signage installed at the entry points to the waterfall, clearly stating the danger of visiting the area, the number of people who have died there and also specifying that the area has been closed to tourists. “Many tourists do not even know that going to the waterfall is illegal and they are trespassing into a reserve forest,” said Mr. Janardhanan. “The Forest Department even has a checkpost a few meters away from the road leading to the waterfall. They should instruct the personnel stationed there to stop people from using the road,” he added.

District Forest Officer, Nilgiris division, D. Guruswamy, said that agriculturalists in the area had insisted the Forest Department to keep the road open so that they could access farmlands located along the slopes bordering the waterfall. “We will now definitely take stringent action against people who illegally venture into the area,” Mr. Guruswamy said.

Meanwhile, the search for the bodies of the two youngsters, who are residents of the Nilgiris, continued for the second day on Monday.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 7:54:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/activists-call-for-strict-action-against-trespassers-to-kalhatti-falls/article30671788.ece

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