KALPETTA: The order of the High Court banning visitors to the ecologically sensitive tourism centres of Wayanad, Soochippara waterfalls and Kuruva Islands has triggered off a controversy as most of the tourism centres were already closed down. The order of the court follows a petition submitted by the Wayanad Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithy, the prominent environmental organisation of the district against the unbridled tourism activities in the tourism destinations. The entry to the wildlife sanctuaries were already closed due to forest fires.
It is to be recalled that the forest department had reduced the number of visitors to the Kuruva Islands and Soochippara waterfalls to 200 persons per day to reduce the pressure on the tourism spots. But the number of visitors was increased to 1000 per day due to pressure from political parties as the taxi services and trade in the shops in and around the centre would be affected due to the sudden dip in the number of tourists.
South Wayanad Divisional Forest Officer Ranjith Kumar said in a press release that the entry of tourists to Soochippara waterfalls and Kuruva Islands, two prominent eco-tourism centres under the tourism department, were closed down as per an order of the High Court. Other major tourism spots of the district Chembra Peak and Banasura Mountain Ranges were closed down due to forest fires earlier this month. The entry to Meenmutti waterfalls was banned many years ago.
However stakeholders in the tourism industry are very much disturbed on the move which came just ahead of summer vacation, the major tourist season. C.P. Shylesh of Wayanad Tourism Organisation said that wildlife and nature are the major attractions of tourists in the district. “With all the nature tourism spots being closed there will not be any charming elements for tourists in the district”, he said....