Taking serious note of the death of 13-year old Sumeet Patel on Sunday, who plummeted 200 feet to his death near Kanheri caves at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), park authorities have decided to deploy more private security personnel at hazard-prone areas in the park to avoid repeats of such incidents. MiD DAY article ‘13-yr-old enters restricted area, falls 200 feet’ published on Monday reported the tragic incident. Park authorities have also decided that they will be taking strict action against visitors who do not follow the forest laws and enter prohibited areas of the forest.
Speaking to MiD DAY, SGNP Director and Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), Sunil Limaye said, “The incident that took place on Sunday is unfortunate, but I would like to request visitors not to enter prohibited or restricted areas and places where we have put up danger boards. Such incidents only happen when people visiting the park don’t follow the instructions and rules.”
On Sunday, Sumeet Patel from Borivali (E) had gone to Kanheri caves along with his friends for a trek. When Sumeet’s friends were sightseeing, he went for a bath at a small pond in a restricted area opposite the caves.
After bathing, Sumeet was sitting on the slippery rocks, and when he tried to get up, he slipped and fell into a valley 200 feet below and died.
Private security guards, who were present in the area when the incident happened, claim that they tried to stop Sumeet, but he did not heed their warnings.
SGNP becomes a hotspot for Mumbaikars during the monsoon, as greenery shrouds the entire park and streams fill up and begin to flow.
Many visitors and tourists who come to the park enter the streams, leading to drowning incidents.
In order to avoid such incidents in the coming days, the forest department officials have decided to deploy additional guards and forest personnel at strategic locations in the forest. Tourists who enjoy taking a plunge at the Magar dam at SGNP will also be restricted from going there, as the forest department has decided to cordon off the road, including a popular byway leading to the dam.
“People visiting the park should understand that SGNP is not a common garden, but a National Park and so they should follow the rules. If we find any people entering the restricted areas or water bodies, we shall be taking strict action against them,” said another forest official.