Tourist seeking permission to go to Berijam lake harassed at forest office

Harassment by a forest department driver in an inebriated condition

Chennai: “This is the state of our government offices, I was at the district forest office in Kodaikanal seeking permission to go to Berijam for a trek. After patiently waiting for over two hours to meet the forest officer, I and my friend were harassed by a forest department driver in an inebriated condition,” alleged a Facebook post by Siddharth Trivellore.

The video post started trending till late Friday night as the youngster was periodically updating more posts venting his anger against the Tamil Nadu forest department; in fact, demanding the dismissal of the the forest driver. The candid video post shared with DC correspondent ended with the driver and youngsters challenging each other for a one-on-one fight outside the DFO’s office.

According to forest department sources, Berijam lake, located inside the Kodaikanal wildlife sanctuary, was a highly protected area. Tourists should obtain permission to enter the lake. Usually, those seeking permission to enter Beirijam are entertained only before 9 am, as the permitted members should return before evening. The youngsters came after 10.30 am. What started as a discussion with the driver, turned ugly. Two individuals’ quarrel had been made public, the sources said.

When contacted, district forest pfficer Venkatesh said the matter was being enquired into. Based on the complaint from the tourist, a charge memo has been issued to the driver. Foresters had recorded that the youngster’s behaviour was rude inside the government office.

Next Story