Online booking likely for weekend entry to Ponmudi

The Forest Department is set to launch an online booking system for weekend visitors to Ponmudi. The move comes amid an influx of visitors to the ecotourism destination since its recent reopening following the COVID-19 lockdown.

Crowd management has lately become a daunting task for the local police which have also struggled to ensure motorists’ safety at the 22 hairpin curves along the Vithura-Ponmudi road amid the inclement weather. The route has been witnessing a spate of accidents particularly during the weekends. The online ticketing system to regulate tourist arrival was mooted by the police under such circumstances.

However, the modalities of the proposed system are yet to be finalised. The options being mulled include a mechanism on the lines of the Sabarimala virtual queue system that reserves slots.

Maximum 3 hours

While the ticketing system will be primarily meant for weekend visits, it could be extended to week days too during the peak tourist season. The system could also fix a limit of three hours for visits to the upper sanatorium. Besides, the number of vehicles would be restricted to around 250 four-wheelers and an equal number of two-wheelers.

As part of efforts to reduce traffic snarls, an additional ticket counter has come up for visitors en route to Ponmudi. Nedumangad Additional Superintendent of Police Raj Prasad said a counter had been established at the Anappara forest check-post. This is in addition to the existing facility at the Golden Valley check-post in Kallar.

Ponmudi, Kallar closed

The Ponmudi and Kallar ecotourism centres were closed on Thursday, a day after Kallar ward in Vithura grama panchayat was declared a containment zone in view of the rising number of COVID-19 infections.

Although Ponmudi falls under the Peringamala grama panchayat, the road leading to the hill station passes through Vithura. Besides, several employees at the hill station hail from Kallar. While Ponmudi will remain closed for a few days, alternative measures are being planned to resume entry next week, official sources said.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 8:15:39 PM |

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