THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “If you want to visit the Napier Museum and Zoo, spare some time in the morning, before high noon.” That was the advice a tourist from Latvia who returned after a walk in the Zoo gave to a group of foreigners who were assembled outside the exit gate.
The Latvian citizen, like scores of other tourists, was simmering with rage over the absence of the provision for drinking water on the Museum compound. Though seven water purifiers were installed on the Museum premises and Zoo sometime back, most of them are out of order now.
With the tourist inflow going up even before the summer vacations, scarcity of drinking water is haunting tourists.
The seven brand new purifiers were provided to the Museum and Zoo officials under the 100-day action programme of the State Government. Three of them were installed in the Zoo, while the rest were placed in different spots on the Museum premises. Barring the first few days after installation, the purifiers never worked full-time.
A Zoo official, on condition of anonymity, said that water supply to the Zoo often gets hit, affecting the working of the purifiers. ”We have seen tourists being tormented by thirst after walking almost three km in the Zoo. It is agonising to see children suffering in the pre-summer heat. Of the three purifiers, one may remain functional. That too won’t last more than a couple of hours. Some of the purifiers have altogether stopped working,” he said.
The crisis has also affected the state of affairs at the Zoo. With the water scarcity getting acute, gate-keepers are forced to allow visitors to carry plastic water cans inside. The bottles thrown by the visitors pose a serious threat to the ecology of the Zoo.
Responding to the issue, Museum director Dr K Udayavarman said that such an incident had never come to his notice.
‘‘The purifiers were installed after spending around Rs 5 lakh. They are working normally. If there is any water supply disruption, the onus is on Water Authority. As long as there is supply is in the line, we provide water,” he said.