For­est dept yet to de­cide on shut­ting Pan­davkada wa­ter­fall

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Even as the mon­soons are round the cor­ner, the for­est depart­ment is still in­de­ci­sive about al­low­ing tourists to visit the Pan­davkada wa­ter­fall at Kharghar.

Last year, they im­posed a ban on the en­try to the wa­ter­fall, as no mea­sures were taken for the safety of the tourists at the site. One year down the line, the sce­nario has re­mained the same.

“Even if we put a ban on the en­try to the wa­ter­fall, rev­ellers will def­i­nitely visit dur­ing mon­soon. We saw same thing last year too. Hun­dreds of rev­ellers vis­ited the site even though a ban was im­posed on the en­try. So, we are dis­cussing the use­ful­ness of the ban as it hardly served any pur­pose last year,” said a for­est of­fi­cial on con­di­tion of anonymity.

In view of fre­quent ac­ci­dents at the wa­ter­fall, the

au­thor­i­ties had de­cided to con­struct one wall en­com­pass­ing the area to pre­vent hap­haz­ard en­tries last year.

City and In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (Cidco) gave Rs1.33 crore to the for­est depart­ment and the for­est depart­ment handed it over to the Pub­lic

Works Depart­ment (PWD) for the construction. How­ever, the pro­posed wall is in pa­per till date.

For­est of­fi­cials on the other hand claim to take pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures for safety of the rev­ellers at the wa­ter­fall.

“We will have to en­sure

safety and se­cu­rity of the peo­ple even if they enter the site il­le­gally. There­fore, we have de­cided to de­ploy our of­fi­cials through­out the mon­soon. We will also ask for help from the lo­cal po­lice and the site will be kept un­der sur­veil­lance from dawn to dusk,” the of­fi­cial said.

The for­est depart­ment ear­lier roped in the lo­cal vil­lagers for keep­ing a tab on the rev­ellers and to res­cue if some­one drowns.

Hun­dreds of rev­ellers from dif­fer­ent places of Navi Mum­bai and the pe­riph­eral ar­eas come to the wa­ter­fall for a pic­nic be­tween June and Septem­ber every year. Dur­ing the week­ends the num­ber of rev­ellers goes up to 3,000-4,000. Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice and the for­est of­fi­cials, no un­to­ward in­ci­dent took place in the wa­ter­fall last year.

Ki­ran Patil, 34, a lo­cal ac­tivist from Kharghar, said, “Peo­ple from across Mum­bai know Kharghar be­cause of Pan­davkada wa­ter­fall. So, en­try to it should not be banned. The au­thor­i­ties should take steps to en­sure safety of the peo­ple at the site. If re­quired, we will also dis­cuss the mat­ter with the state for­est min­is­ter.”

HT FILE

Hun­dreds of vis­i­tors come to Pan­davkada be­tween June and Septem­ber every year. ■

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