Tourism department irresponsible in keeping access gate open
SHOPIAN: The tourism department has kept open the gate of what has become a death trap at Aharbal waterfall where scores of youths come to take selfies, close to the dangerous waterfall which already has claimed dozens of lives.
On Monday a youth had a narrow escape when he fell into the waterfall but luckily survived when he was retrieved by his fellows who used their trouser belts to hand him a clutch.
On the same day, a woman along with her infant child attempted suicide at the waterfall. The woman, seemingly in her 30s, tried to jump into the water from a height along with her child.
As soon as her attempt was noticed by a man nearby, he immediately rushed towards the lady and foiled her suicide bid.
Later, people gathered around the lady and consoled the woman, who started weeping soon afterwards.
A fortnight ago, another youth from Nowgam Shangas area of district Anantnag lost his life when he fell into the waterfall as the path leading to the fall, despite being fenced, has an open gate.
For years people have been entering the gate to go close to the waterfall to capture photos and selfies, without paying any attention to the warning signs put up by the tourist department.
Locals from Aharbal said that the gate meant to restrict movement close to the waterfall remains always open.
When contacted, Executive Officer of the Aharbal Development Authority, Galib Mohudin Shah, acknowledged that youths trespass to the waterfall site. However, he said, they do it by climbing over the fence or by breaking the lock on the gate.
“We have written a formal letter to Director Tourism to provide Tourism Police to keep people away from the waterfall,” he said.
Shah said that some people come from the Sedow side to the waterfall and the same area will be fenced to avoid any untoward incident.
“We are developing the site further and fencing it is the prime concern,” he added.