Goa’s tourism, forest departments clash over ban on entry to waterfalls - Hindustan Times
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Goa’s tourism, forest departments clash over ban on entry to waterfalls

ByGerard de Souza
Jun 18, 2024 09:42 PM IST

Goa tourism minister Rohan Khaunte Khaunte said a blanket ban on entry to the waterfalls flies in the face of the state’s stated desire to promote rural tourism.

Goa tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Tuesday hit out at the state’s forest department for banning entry of all persons to the state’s picturesque seasonal waterfalls that come alive during the monsoons.

A waterfall in Goa. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A waterfall in Goa. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Speaking to the media, Khaunte said a blanket ban on entry to the waterfalls flies in the face of the state’s stated desire to promote rural tourism.

“While I understand that there are risks especially associated with unruly tourists, there are certain waterfalls that can be declared safe that need to be opened up for tourism purposes. Both tourists as well as locals like to visit these waterfalls and several local businesses depend on them,” Khaunte said.

“The solution to risky behaviour cannot be a blanket ban, but instead we need to draw up a solution to the problem. It cannot be that a forest official from Delhi with the sweep of his pen bans entry to the waterfalls,” he said, adding that he has spoken to chief minister Pramod Sawant and will take up the matter with forest minister Vishwajit Rane.

A ban on entry to the state’s waterfalls is a repeat of a similar ban issued during the monsoons last year after two people drowned during a picnic to waterfalls during the month of July when the mountainous streams are in full flow. This year, too, several drownings have been reported from abandoned quarries and waterfalls.

Goa forest minister Vishwajit Rane, speaking later in the day, however, said that while some waterfalls could be opened, safety was a priority for the state.

“We will allow access to only low risk waterfalls. People’s lives come first, and rest all is secondary,” Rane said.

Locals especially those from Netravali village, that is home to several waterfalls, had sought a lifting of the ban on waterfalls in the village claiming that the move was severely affecting their businesses.

Two youth lost their lives at a waterfall in Netravali village in 2023.

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