JOGULAMBA GADWAL: Three years ago, Mahbubnagar district organised the Krishna Pushkaralu which saw thousands of devotees throng to the meeting point of rivers Krishna and Bheema, in August 2016. For the event, its organisers had set up paid parking services, charging `20 per vehicle. That year, some locals reportedly saved the leftover parking tokens, for use at a different time.
Come 2019, as the initial disappointment of poor rains in June and July, was set aside by a heavy downpour in August, inflows into the Priyadarshini Jurala Dam increased exponentially. Tourists started to trickle in, which is when the locals saw an opportunity to use the old tokens. They began handing them out to visitors who parked in their villages, before heading to the Jurala Dam, for Rs 20 per vehicle.
The motorists were especially inconvenienced with the parking fees, which was not only illegal but way too high for two-wheelers. A majority of the visitors to the Jurala Dam were actually travelling from Amarachinta, Atmakoor, Narva and Makhtal mandals to Kurnool, Raichur and Gadwal via Jurala dam. According to them, these parking fees was actually deterring people from stopping and visiting the dam.
When angry visitors raised the issue, the matter reached the office of local MLA Krishnamohan Reddy. The MLA promptly issued orders to the locals, directing them to stop charging the visitors of parking fees.
On Saturday, the locals agreed to stop the practice and all the tokens were withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the tourists expressed their disapproval and said that the area around Jurala dam had no proper tourism spot and even lacks in basic amenities. Over and above this, if the locals were to illegally ask for parking fees, this would severely affect the tourist footfall, they said.