On Saturday, this paper carried a report about the popular Pandavkada waterfalls in Kharghar, which has been declared off-limits to revellers as a result of problems arising from their unruly behaviour at the site. This is a real tragedy because one of the high points of the monsoon in Mumbai is that the weather offers quick, scenic getaways close to the city. It is a time to take advantage of the cooling showers, verdant vistas and give choked lungs some much-needed respite from the city’s traffic.
Officials at Pandavkada stated that visitors showed zero regard for the fragile ecosystem of the area. The forest department had little option but to close the waterfall to the public. This though is true of a number of picnic spots near the city. Visitors do not respect nature and post weekends, one can see heaps of trash, plastic, paper and eatables left over by visitors.
In case of water -- rivers or waterfalls -- drowning because of intoxication is common. Visitors have come to equate inebriation with fun. Alcohol- fuelled adrenaline is dangerous, it makes visitors lose their balance, wade too far into the gushing rivers or falls sometimes, get swept away by the tide, or take foolish and unnecessary risks while climbing hills or standing close to a precipice with yawning valleys below. Too often, we have read how young people have lost lives in an accident, thanks to bravado brought on by a bottle.
Verbal molestation of women is also a problem at these picnics. Lager louts, if one can call them that, hoot and call at women, pass sickening comments. Visitors have to respect the site, the surroundings and other visitors, to make spots like these truly enjoyable.