PUNE: For the safety of tourists following heavy rainfall in Mulshi taluka and to preserve the biodiversity in forest areas, officials of the Pune Forest Department have decided to ban entry of visitors in eco-sensitive parts of Sudhagarh, Andharban in Mulshi area and the Tamhini ghat from July 15 to August 15.
From this year the forest department has decided to take strict measures to protect the biodiversity and ecosystem of the Western Ghat. Speaking on this, Deputy Conservator of Forest A Sreelakshmi said that the area has witnessed few drowning incidents in 2017 and so as a precautionary measure, we have decided to close down the area till August 15. “People interested in visiting the area will have to take permission from the forest department by sending an email at email@example.com,” added Sreelakshmi. The mail should contain information about the trekking group, name, age and sex of every participant going into the forest.
Vivek Khandekar, Chief Conservator of Forest, Pune circle, had earlier said that visitors trying to harm the biodiversity of these areas will be booked under the strict laws.
The forest department has also planned to restrict the number of daily visitors in these areas to around 200. Officials of the forest department said that the major concern for the department is the littering activities of tourist. “People dump plastic bags, glass bottles which are harmful to the environment and so we need to restrict the number of visitors in the area,” said an official from the forest department.
Considering the incidents of rock falling, the forest department has also banned entry to Sinhgad fort. Speaking about tourist spots of Lonavla, officials of the Lonavla police said that while there is no restriction on a visit to tourists spots, they try to stop the entry at such points at around 4 to 5 pm so that they can manage the visitors. Similarly, police have appealed that tourist should vacate such spots by 6 pm as such spots turn dark. Police said that their main focus is to prevent incidents of drink and drive.”
“Already there were two incidents of drowning at Bhushi dam this monsoon season and now that the dams are full people should take extra precautions and avoid going deep in ponds, lakes, rivers as in monsoon season it becomes difficult to judge the depth of water causing incidents of drowning,” said an official from the Lonavla police. Following a large number of visitors, police will also place a ban on entry of heavy vehicles and minibus in areas of Bhushi dam, Lions Point, Tiger Point and other waterfalls.
While areas of Panchgani, Wai and Mahabaleshwar are receiving a good number of visitors, Police Inspector Vinayak Vetal of Wai police station said that all areas are kept open for visitors and they have deployed enough police force for traffic regulation in the area.
SAFETY TIPS TO AVOID ANY UNTOWARD INCIDENT
1. Try not to travel at night and avoid dark areas.
2. Refrain from consuming alcohol and visiting spots of high altitude or water bodies.
3. Keep the contact number of local police for help in case of emergencies.
4. Do background research before visiting the unknown location.