Kerala

Traffic curbs affect tourism in Munnar

Despite cool climate, tourists cancelling trips

Traffic curbs on two main stretches in the district — the Periyavarai bridge and the Gap Road — have affected tourism activities in Munnar. Traffic on the Periyavarai bridge connecting Munnar and Udumalpet was restricted after earth caved in on the approach road a few days ago.

The Public Works Department (PWD) has restricted heavy vehicles through the bridge. Though the authorities say that the new bridge there would be opened for traffic in a week, there is apprehension that it may be delayed as the piling works have to be completed.

A PWD official said that the approach road to the temporary bridge was filled and light vehicles were allowed through it from Tuesday morning.

But the curbs on heavy vehicles continued.

Earlier, the vehicles had been diverted through the Periyavarai top division.

The area has been witnessing heavy traffic congestion.

Damaged in floods

Traffic on the temporary bridge at Periyavarai was blocked after it was damaged in this year’s floods.

The main bridge there was destroyed in the 2018 deluge. Tourists from Udumalpet reach Munnar through the bridge.

Traffic curbs are also in place on the Gap Road of the Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway.

Following landslips

Major landslips caused large scale damage to the road as widening work was progressing, following which the district administration imposed a ban on traffic on the stretch in August.

Gap Road is the main road connecting Adimaly and Munnar and the Eravikulam National Park.

The district administration had said that traffic would be restored after an expert team from the National Institute of Technology visited the stretch on Wednesday. However, the team postponed its visit.

Team to visit on Monday

District Collector H. Dinesan told The Hindu on Wednesday that the expert team would visit the Gap Road on Monday.

He said that the traffic ban was imposed after the district geologist gave a report that there were chances of further landslips there.

According to stakeholders in the tourism sector, there was a considerable drop in the number of tourists visiting Munnar.

There were frequent cancellation of bookings, said a hotel manager adding that proper road connectivity was the main criteria while selecting a destination.

The tourists reaching Nedumbassery International Airport now diverted their journey to Kumarakom, instead of the Munnar-Thekkady- Kumarakom route.

There was also a drop in the arrival of tourists at smaller destinations, said Thankavel, a driver attached to a hotel in Old Munnar.

Besides the traffic restrictions, the roads damaged in the floods last year’s floods had not been repaired, he added.

Cool climate

Munnar Hotel and Resorts Association president V.V. George said that traffic curbs had badly affected the tourism sector and many tourists had cancelled their trips.

“Now the hill station is experiencing a cool climate. However, we are unable to market it due to travel curbs and bad roads,” Mr. George said.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 10:29:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/traffic-curbs-affect-tourism-in-munnar/article29966006.ece

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