September 8, 2020
Udhagamandalam: Tourism…yes but at what cost?. Even as this question has started doing the rounds in this hill station, following the decision of the government to relax curbs and permit tourists with E-passes from Wednesday, the Government Botanical Garden (GBG) and other parks of the Department of Horticulture today put in place arrangements to receive the visitors.
This correspondent who visited the GBG on Tuesday saw workers taking steps to regulate entry of tourists and also spruce up the surroundings. With the weather having been favourable the garden, extending over about 55 acres, is now presenting a colourful look. Stating that all precautionary measures will be taken to check the spread of the Corona virus, the Assistant Director of Horticulture Mr.M.Radhakrishnan said that social distancing will be ensured at all places including the ticket counters. After purchasing tickets, tourists will be made to use hand sanitizers placed near the threshold and they would be subjected to thermal tests. Facilities to wash hands will be provided at convenient places. At a time not more than ten persons will be permitted to enter the glass houses.
Public conveniences will be washed frequently. Adverting to the special attractions, he said that a flower gallery is now getting ready and it would be thrown open on Friday. Meanwhile observers were of the view that the authorities should exercise stringent control over the movement of tourists at not only the tourist spots but also in other parts of the district. Within the tourist spots, particularly the GBG their behaviour should be monitored. Pointing out that many among the tourists were undisciplined and irresponsible , they said that violations including vandalism should be dealt with an iron hand.
Though tourism played a vital role in ensuring the economic well being of this vacation destination, it should not be promoted at the cost of the local people’s health.
At various places Dos and Don’ts should be strictly spelt out and those who don’t adhere to the norms should be pulled up.In particular
consumption of alcohol, in public places,should be viewed seriously.