TIRUNELVELI: The road snaking its way to Courtallam waterfalls has turned more dangerous of late. No it’s not due to the hairpin bends but due to the increase in the number of tipsy men who are out on a ‘joyous drive’.
Stating that accidents caused by the drunk drivers to and from the waterfalls during the season is on the rise, activists have urged the district administration and police to launch a special drive to nab the drunk drivers and those who are taking bath in the waterfalls in an inebriated condition.
Claiming that the drunk driving menace has been endangering the safety of the people residing along Tenkasi-Tirunelveli and Tenkasi- Thirumangalam roads and other roads, T Vijayendran, a youth from Kalathimadam village, said that the accident he met with had ruined his future.
“It happened in July 8 last year when a drunk car driver, heading towards Tirunelveli from Courtallam, hit me near Alangulam. I was bed-ridden for weeks after the accident and am still unable to walk. I was one of the best players in my village’s cricket and football teams. But, I do not think I will be able to play again,” he rued.
Pointing at the directions given by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court in 2014, activist A Dravidamani urged the district administration and police to implement the court directions effectively. “The Court has prohibited drinking in open spaces, public roads and in cars. The police were directed to seize the bottles of liquor and slap fine on the violators for causing nuisance. It further ordered them to videograph the persons who are found to be drinking so that they do not escape from prosecution. The State government was told to close the liquor shop located near the falls area within 48 hours,” he said.
He further said that the Court had also prohibited the inebriated people taking bath in the falls. “It seems the district administration and the police have not taken any steps to implement the court direction as several people in the district continue to meet with road accidents, caused by drunk drivers visiting Courtallam. About 200 people were fined in a day when the Court issued the directions. But, this Sunday, we saw the men taking liquor in an open place near Main falls itself,” said Dravidamani.
Speaking to Express, Gokula Krishnan Tenkasi DSP, said that the police were slapping penalty on the drunk drivers. “More than 200 policemen have been ensuring public safety in Courtallam. A traffic inspector from Tenkasi is sent to Courtallam on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to prevent traffic violations from taking place. We come across several instances of public nuisance caused by drunk men, particularly by those who paste lawyer’s symbol on their vehicles. The drunk men are sent to the nearest government hospitals to undergo medical checkup,” he added.
The DSP further said that since his department did not have enough police force in Courtallam, he was bringing police personnel attached to other police stations of his division during season. “We are taking all the measures including placing barricades on the roads to avoid accidents by drunk drivers. If a large number of tourists visit the waterfalls at the same time, the accident rate will increase. However, we cannot reveal the number of accidents and drink driving cases,” he added