Who will be responsible?
NASHIK: Nashik is becoming a favourite destination for tourists, especially during monsoon. The district is blessed with natural beauty and people from all around the state and country are attracted to various destinations in the district, especially the tribal tehsils like Igatpuri, Trimbakeshwar, Surgana, Peth and other parts. These places have picturesque mountains, lakes, dams and waterfalls. But, the accidents at these places are also increasing with the increasing crowd of people.
Nashik has an identity of the district of forts. The district has the largest number of forts in the state. These forts are special attractions for young tourists. The footfall on forts of these young trekking enthusiasts is increasing day by day. The forts mostly have a very narrow pathway to reach the top of the fort. Thousands of youngsters are gathering every day to reach the peak of mountain forts. This increases the probability of a stampede at such a place.
Every day the young enthusiastic trekkers are visiting the Harihar Fort, which is famous for its high-altitude steps which are aligned in a straight line and are considered one of the most difficult forts to climb. Last Monday, the fort was crowded with thousands of youngsters and the situation was out of hand. The Forest Committee of the village panchayat volunteered and helped the youngster to get down safely as the fort was stormed by trekking enthusiasts. In such a situation, it becomes important to ask, who will be responsible if any untoward incident takes place?
"We have opted for the help from Police Department. We have also discussed in this regard. Every Saturday and Sunday there will be bandobast at Harihar Fort. For primary solution, we had a word with the village committees and there will be combined meeting about this situation. We will be deploying eight volunteers, three forest rangers and one forester. The issue will be discussed with higher officials soon and permanent solution will be sort." -Rajendra Pawar, RFO, Trimbakeshwar
"The rules are not followed in the city even when there is an administration. In such a case, there is no chance people will follow any rules by themselves in forest areas. The Forest and Tourism department has no seriousness to stop such unhealthy tourism and provide facilities for a safe and healthy environment for tourism. We can’t blame people every time. There should be a system for visiting such places. Pre-booking should be taken while charging some amount for maintenance. Facilities should be provided for tourists. There are about 400 forts in Nashik, the state has different ministries for different purposes related to these monuments. There are offices and people for all this but nothing has been changed.” -Prashant Pardeshi, Trekker, Blogger
“We had given a letter to the forest department, but there is no action yet. We suggested pre-booking for going to Harihar fort. Only a specific number of people should be allowed to go to the fort. Youngsters are attracted to the beauty of this fort and they must see this fort. The forest department should take action in its power and manage the crowds on the fort. Department should set an office on foothills of the fort and deploy forest personnel for monitoring.”- Sudarshan Kulthe,Trekker & Travel Enthusiast