Panchayat lays prohibition for jeeps ferrying tourists to Mandalpatti in Karnataka

The jeep parking area at Nandi Motte Junction.
The jeep parking area at Nandi Motte Junction.(Photo | Express)

MADIKERI: The K Nidugane Grama Panchayat in Kodagu has imposed a sudden prohibition on jeep ferries to Mandalpatti and Abbey Falls regions in the district.

The panchayat has written to the administration requesting the complete prohibition, while the concerned jeep drivers and owners have also approached the administration demanding relief from the sudden ban.

In the notice dated July 1, the K Nidugane Grama Panchayat has requested the district administration to take suitable actions against the jeep drivers. The notice states that the jeep drivers are ferrying tourists without proper permission and are demanding exorbitant prices from the tourists.

The notice also states that the jeep drivers are allegedly involved in gambling and other illegal activities at the jeep parking spot near Nandi Motte Junction in the panchayat limits. While a parking prohibition banner for the yellow board jeeps has been affixed at Nandi Motte Junction, the panchayat has written to the district administration seeking suitable actions.

“An emergency meeting was called by the administrative staff of the panchayat and parking prohibition at the Nandi Motte Junction and at the bus parking area near Abbey Falls has been passed by the panchayat,” confirmed Mamatha, K Nidugane PDO.

However, this prohibition has not been well-received by the jeep drivers, who allege that the panchayat has passed this ‘unjustifiable’ order after one of the jeep drivers allegedly released a video of the vulnerable condition of the glass bridge at the Nandi Motte Junction, for which only the panchayat officials had given permission. The glass bridge has now been seized by the district administration.

The notice banner installed at the Nadi Motte Junction by the panchayat.
The notice banner installed at the Nadi Motte Junction by the panchayat. (Photo | Express)

Meanwhile, the Mandalpatti Jeep Drivers’ Association Secretary, Monnaiah, confirmed that a memorandum requesting parking space in the panchayat limits has been submitted to the DC, SP, and ZP CEO.

“There are a total of 120 jeep drivers who are dependent on the trips to Mandalpatti for survival. All these jeeps have been installed with yellow boards as per the requirement of the administration and RTO. We have been ferrying tourists on this route for 14 years now and have been following all the rules and regulations. The panchayat has also collected money for parking through a tender process for the years 2020 to 2024. However, the panchayat has now removed the tender notice and the parking boards. This is injustice done to the families of 120 jeep drivers,” he shared.

He denied the involvement of jeep drivers in illegal activities at the junction and said, "Our association has fixed a tarpaulin at the bus stand to shelter commuters from rain. However, we have been falsely accused of illegal activities."

In the memorandum, the jeep drivers request the intervention of the administration to allow the parking of jeeps at Nandi Motte Junction. DC Venkat Raja confirmed that the matter has been referred to the ZP CEO for resolution. CEO Varnit Negi confirmed that he will look into the issue and take necessary measures.

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