THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At a time when the state government is trying to infuse momentum into the tourism sector which is trying to limp back to normal post pandemic, the apathy of officials has left the popular hill station in the capital in a pathetic state, lacking even basic amenities.
With no proper toilet facilities, refreshment area, and not even a hassle-free entry, a journey to Ponmudi can cost you the joy of a vacation. The lack of proper amenities has been plaguing the tourist destination for a long time. With the destination going for digital entry as a means to limit the entry, the journey to the destination has further become cumbersome.
Pratheesh Jaison, a travel writer and a techie who recently visited Ponmudi shared the ordeal of how a tourist centre is being neglected. "The problems start with the booking. The entry is restricted by online booking and even if you book, you lose a lot of time waiting for the people to arrive with printouts of the bookings. People wait in queues and a lot of time is being wasted. Online booking should ease the procedures, rather they make it complicated," says Pratheesh.
One gets an entry only at 8 am and much time is wasted in sorting of the booking which is done manually, he adds. "You go to a hill station to enjoy the climate. But the place opens only at 8 am and when you reach the hilltop, it is noon. You lose the ambience of the hill station. It is a disappointment," he says. He also points out the view tower which is being set up at the peak.
"The view tower is in a dangerous state and is broken. To prevent people from climbing it, they have put up a fence but that is an eyesore and the view tower doesn’t serve a purpose. Especially when you get a 360-degree view just by standing there," he adds.
A lot of visitors who arrived at the destination echoed the same sentiments, he added. The same is being widely criticised on social media by other travellers.The lack of basic amenities like a proper toilet and a well-functioning refreshment area is also a concern.
According to DTPC secretary Sharon Veettil, effort is being taken to make the place traveller friendly and amenities are being upgraded. According to him, the lower sanatorium region is the only region under the control of the tourism department while the upper sanatorium is under the control of the forest department. The facilities at the lower sanatorium are being upgraded.