Kuntala waterfall continues to remain closed

The majestic Kuntala waterfall, that has taken 100 lives in the last two decades, in Adilabad district.

The majestic Kuntala waterfall, that has taken 100 lives in the last two decades, in Adilabad district.  

Tourists’ safety a major concern for Forest Department

lThe Forest Department continues to deny access to thousands of visitors to the scenic Kuntala waterfall in Neredigonda mandal of Adilabad district citing safety as a major concern.

A youth had drowned in the pool at the foot of the waterfall about a fortnight ago which had the department take recourse to closing it down for visitors until some permanent safety measures are put in place.

The majestic waterfall, located deep inside the forest, has accounted for over 100 deaths in the last two decades making it highly unsafe for visitors, who try to play in the pool. It is this pool with three fissures in its rock bed that has claimed almost all the lives that were lost here.

Narrow fissure

Unsuspecting visitors who enter the pool suddenly fall into a narrow fissure and drown. The narrowness of the fissure does not allow the victims enough space to flail their arms or come up from the depths.

“We tried to close down these danger spots in the summer of 2018, but local Adivasis protested against the move as it is their holy spot. They were even against minimal changes to the spot as they suspected it would be like tinkering with their culture and tradition,” said Adilabad District Forest Officer B. Prabhakar, as he talked of the safety measures that were sought to be initiated in the past.

The 2018 season saw no loss of life, thanks to the swimmers and rescuers deployed at the pool. The latest incident took place in the absence of the swimmers at the spot. “The swimmers were too tired after a hard day’s work the previous day, which, being a weekend, saw a few thousand flocking to the waterfall,” a watcher tried to justify their absence. “The victim entered the water and dropped into the fissure and died within no time,” he added.

The four swimmers and rescuers and eight other locals who clean the place and man the gates have been demanding enhancement of their salary which, they claim, was not commensurate with the kind of work they are expected to do.

“Enhancement of salary will ensure our presence throughout the day,” assured one of them. The Forest Department, however, said the issue of salary is tied up with the income generated at the tourist spot and it would be enhanced once the income increases.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:07:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/kuntala-waterfall-continues-to-remain-closed/article29317259.ece

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