Forest dept yet to decide on shutting Pandavkada waterfall
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.”
Hundreds of visitors come to Pandavkada between June and September every year. ■