THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Every year, hundreds of tourists from different parts of the country throng Ponmudi. It was about two months back that the ecotourism centre opened to tourists after the lockdown. But the incessant rain damaged the roads of the hill station. Ponmudi is yet to open its gates to tourists as the hill station is waiting for the road work, which was delayed due to heavy rain, to pick up. The authorities say it may continue to be under lockdown for longer than expected.
The road initially suffered damage during the first week of June. Among the 22 hairpin curves at the hill station, the road between curves 11 and 12 suffered maximum damage due to soil erosion. Due to this, depressions were formed on the surface of the road. “Only KSRTC buses have been allowed and that too, after taking necessary safety measures. Even the crash barriers at hairpin curves are damaged and need to be reconstructed,” said Sunil Kumar S, section forest officer, Ponmudi Eco-Tourism.
The Public Works Department (PWD) has been finding it difficult to continue the work due to the rain. “The restoration works started long back but it is taking more time than usual due to the changing weather conditions. Unless a safety certificate is obtained from the PWD, the road can not be opened to the public,” said Sunil. Meanwhile, KTDC’s Golden Peak resort at Ponmudi has been able to get a good number of bookings compared to last year.
“The hill station is a favourite weekend destination for domestic tourists. We had suffered a huge loss during the lockdown but things are getting back to normal. We have started getting bookings. Although the entry to the upper sanatorium has been banned, we are getting bookings for the resort,” said an employee of the resort. The facilities at Ponmudi are arranged by the forest department, Kerala Tourism Promotion Council (KTDC), and the forest conservation committee.