Wayanad: If the decade-old partial ban on traffic through National Highway 766 is extended to 24 hours, it would be the last nail in the coffin of the already sinking tourism industry of Wayanad, say key players.
A majority of them would be forced to close down as they are struggling to survive since the night traffic ban.
The hospitality industry, including providers of the ubiquitous homestays, had been thriving before the ban.
P. Soman of Cheeral Green Homestay said it was part of a conspiracy hatched by a lobby to torpedo the booming industry to divert the IT crowd from Bengaluru to Coorg.
"More than 90 per cent of tourists in Wayanad were from the IT sector who board the bus after food at night and reach Wayanad in the early hours," he told DC.
"But with the ban, the weekend holidaymakers have shifted to Coorg."
The industry players unanimously say that there is no other go for them but to close down the properties.
Wayanad Tourism Organization (WTO) is planning to approach SC against the attempt to shut the road entirely.
"We have a feeling that so far all agencies failed to present the real issue of Wayanad at SC," said Raveendran Pranavam of WTO.
"We were not at all favoured by both governments as the state government also is supporting only Kannur-linked project. It was lobbying for Coorg coupled with the interest of the present government in the Kannur-Mananthavady-Mysore route which played hostile to Wayanad in general."
According to Ali Bran of the Wayanad Tourism Association which has more than 300 members, the total ban would be the end of the road for Wayanad tourism.
"We are already on the decline with recurring floods and calamities," he said....