MADURAI: While over 3,000 tourists are visiting the Kodaikanal Boat House daily, fewer life jackets at the boat house and tourists being careless about wearing them while riding boats in the over 30-feet deep lake pose grave danger to lives.
While the tourist inflow is expected to increase in the coming days, the Tourist Department’s apathy towards safety measures is increasing risks to tourists’ lives.
It may be recalled that several tourists have died recently in accidents triggered by lack of safety arrangements at tourist hot spots.
Only three to four life jackets are being kept in a boat which carries more than eight persons including children. The boat house has 114 boats with a seating capacity of two, four and six tourists.
“We have not been provided with adequate life jackets and we too didn’t insist for it since wearing life jacket is not comfortable to enjoy the boat ride. When I saw that other tourists are not wearing life jackets I too felt that it was not necessary,” said a tourist after coming back from a boat ride.
However, the manager of the boat house said: “We insist on wearing life jackets for boating and keep life jackets on boats, but tourists do not follow the instruction and remove them once they go for boating. We have also written instruction at the boat house but people do not follow it. Our boats are in good condition and there are no chances of any accidents in the lake.”
The lake being 30-feet deep and children taking boats frequently, it is high time the Tourism Department took steps to ensure that tourists wore life jackets before any accident takes place, said Madhavan, a tourist who came with his family to the boat house.
Meanwhile, Kodaikanal had managed to secure 48 lakh footfalls last year, largely owing to new tourism development policies, said Tourism Minster S P Shanmuganathan.
He said this during the inaugural of the Summer Festival and the 53rd Flower Show in Madurai. Finance Minister O Paneerselvam in the presence of his ministerial colleagues, inaugurated the Summer Festival and 53rd flower show at the Bryant Park.
The twin show turned out to be a grand treat for thousands of tourists. Totally 743 varieties of rose formed part of the flower show, which turned out to be a big draw among the tourists.
Pointing to the Vision 2023 plan of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa under which `10,000 crore has been earmarked for the development of tourism in the state, he said it would be help give a major push to the tourism infrastructure and increase the tourist flow into the State to 1.5 crore in the coming years.
Apart from developing infrastructure, the government also plans to develop the Kolli Hills, Courtalam and bring more visitors to the state. Besides, Sirumalai would also be promoted as a potential tourist spot.