Citing 15 deaths in five years, cops have been deployed at the entry point to the Pandavkada waterfalls to keep locals and trekkers away
In their attempt to prevent loss of life at the picturesque, yet lethal Pandavkada waterfalls, the local police has collaborated with the Forest Department (FD) to cordon off the entrance to the waterfalls located behind the Kharghar golf course.
Local police guarding the entry point
These waterfalls are a major attraction amongst locals and trekkers during monsoon. FD officials revealed that 15 deaths were reported at the falls in the last five years, including the one that occurred last year after a visitor slipped and fell into the gorge below.
Subhash Rathod, an FD official, said, “Every year, accidental deaths are reported from the waterfalls. Hence, we collaborated with the police and decided to make the area off-limits for visitors during monsoon. Currently, construction work of a protective wall around the falls is under way. Once completed, chances are we might reopen it for tourists and visitors for the next monsoon.”
When this correspondent visited the spot on Monday, police officials were seen guarding the entry point for the waterfalls. “As per orders, no one will be allowed to visit the waterfalls for the next four months at least. Our officers are stationed here from 9 am to 9 pm,” said a policeman present at the spot.
“We always wanted to experience Pandavkada waterfalls. Since we couldn’t make it last year, we decided to visit it this year. However, we were not aware of any such ban and ended up watching the waterfalls from a distance,” said Dinesh Patil, who had come from Chembur with his friends.
Meanwhile, snack shop owners outside the golf course revealed that banning visitors from the waterfalls had hit their business hard. “It is only during monsoon that hundreds of people visit Pandavkada. However, with the ban in place, only a handful of people come here these days.
None of us are making any money,” said Chedi, a corn seller. Hawkers claimed that until last year, they would easily make at least Rs 1,000 a day, as visitors flocked to the waterfalls. But with the ban in place, most of them are now struggling to earn Rs 200 a day.