Forest Department aiming to launch an online booking system for weekend visitors to Ponmudi

 Saturday, September 25, 2021 


The Forest Department is aiming to launch an online booking system for weekend visitors to Ponmudi. This move comes with an influx of visitors to the eco-tourism destination since its recent reopening after the COVID-19 lockdown.

Crowd management has lately become a challenging task for the local police which have also struggled to make sure that motorists are safe at the 22 hairpin curves along the Vithura-Ponmudi road amid severe weather conditions.

The route has been witnessing a spate of accidents particularly during the weekends. The online ticketing system to control tourist arrival was supported by the police under such circumstances.

However, the modalities of the proposed system are yet to be finalized. The options being considered include a mechanism similar to theSabarimala virtual queue system that reserves slots.

While the ticketing system will be mainlyintended for weekend visits, it could be extended to week days too during the peak tourist season. The system could also limit three hours for visits to the upper sanatorium. Also, the number of vehicles would be limited to around 250 four-wheelers with an equal number of two-wheelers.

To reduce traffic problems, an additional ticket counter has come up for visitors en route to Ponmudi.

The Ponmudi and Kallar eco-tourism centers were closed on Thursday, a day after Kallar ward in Vithuragramapanchayat was declared a containment zone due to increasing number of COVID-19 infections.

Although Ponmudi falls under the Peringamalagramapanchayat, the road leading to the hill station passes through Vithura. Besides, several employees at the hill station come from Kallar. While Ponmudi will remain closed for few days, alternative measures are being planned to recommence entry next week.

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