|November 19, 2013 at 10:48 am #4873|
Authorities managed to convince residents from Sonaulim and Caranzol in Collem, coming under National Park Mollem, to withdraw the protest that would have disrupted tourism activity at Dhudhsagar waterfall on Monday.
The residents had threatened to stop tourism activities at Dudhasagar waterfall from Monday in protest over non-issuance of taxi permits to about 14 residents, who claim to be rightful candidates. The residents have temporarily decided to withdraw protest following assurance from the authorities to solve the issue within one month.
According to information, there are about 15 families residing in Sonaulim and Caranzol, who claimed that since 2007, they have been requesting authorities to issue them taxi permits to operate jeeps to ferry tourists from Collem to Dudhsagar waterfall.
There are about 98 taxis that ferry tourists from Collem to Dudhsagar, a distance of about 14 kms.
“Agriculture is the sole livelihood for almost all the families at Sonaulim and Caranzol. However being in wildlife zone, the crop is often under threat from wild animals, as such operating taxis could have been helpful,” said Prakash Patil from Sonaulim. “We have been requesting authorities since 2007 to issue us taxi permits. As we live along the route at Dudhsagar waterfall, authorities should have considered us,” he said.
On Monday morning, Collem PI Jivba Dalvi urged the residents not to disrupt tourism activity and assured to take up the issue with the authorities concerned. Accordingly, PI Dalvi convened a meeting with residents along with Dharbandora Mamlatdar Satish Prabhu and Range Forest Officer (RFO Collem) Pranay Naik to pacify the agitating residents.
“The officials concerned from the forest department assured to solve the problem as fast as possible and we will follow it up,” informed PI Dalvi. Though the residents have temporarily withdrawn the agitation, they are determined to protest if their demand is not met.
“We won’t keep quiet as we have already waited for a long time. If the government fails to act, we will definitely disrupt tourism activity at Dudhsagar,” warned Prakash Patil.
According to information, every day several tourists return without visiting the Dudhsagar waterfall due to shortage of vehicles. Last year, about 534 applications were received after authorities decided to issue new taxi permits, however as told, the process to scrutinize application is yet to be completed.
Source/Reference: Herald, “Mollem locals withdraw Dudhsagar stir“