Munnar’s tourism to go green

On the lines of the Vazhikattan Wagamon project, a green tourism project will be implemented in Munnar by the district administration in association with the Haritha Keralam Mission.

The heavy tourist inflow puts a lot of stress on Munnar and it is hoped that once the project is implemented, the environmentally sensitive spot could emerge as a major responsible tourism centre with the systematic collection of non-biodegradable waste.

Wagamon is known for its green check-posts on all entry points and a user fee is collected from the travellers. Also, at the check-points non-biodegradable wastes are collected from the visitors. The project has succeeded in keeping the hill station free of waste. The hotels and resorts also follow the protocol prescribed by the grama panchayat. Routine checks are conducted at the hotels and resorts and those violating the norms are fined. If a facility is found to be violating the norms regularly, its licence will be suspended.

Haritha Keralam Mission district coordinator G.S. Madhu said that initially there were some issues related to the project implementation in

Wagamon. After the green check-posts were set up and follow-up action taken, it turned a success. “Now those visiting Wagamon are aware that it is a responsible tourism centre. A major change noticed is that visitors are not throwing waste on the roadside. They know that they are liable to be charged for it

and they deposit the wastes in the dustbin,” he said, adding that the keen vigil shown by the local body was a major factor in making the project a success.

The Haritha Karma Sena should be active and continuous monitoring of tourists and vehicles was required, he said.

A meeting held at the Collectorate recently reviewed the Vazhikattan Wagamon project and held discussions on its implementation in Munnar, the

main tourism station in the district.

A meeting will be convened by District Collector H. Dinesan in the first week of January to discuss the project implementation in Munnar. There will be a green corridor, green check-posts manned by the Haritha Karma Sena and a green shop to distribute alternative products. A sustainable conservation and waste management project is already under way in Devikulam taluk, comprising eight grama

panchayats including Munnar, under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Kanan Devan Hills Plantation (KDHP)

Ltd. has already discussed the project with the Haritha Keralam Mission, sources said.

Mr. Dinesan told The Hindu on Tuesday that the Green Munnar project would take off by the second week of January.

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