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Villagers to watch over tourists at Pandavkada waterfall

For those planning a trip to the popular monsoon haunt in Navi Mumbai, Pandavkada waterfall, the fear of mudslides need no longer be a source of worry. The forest department will be hiring security guards to watch over the visitors at the waterfall this monsoon.

The majestic waterfall rests amidst lush greenery and is particularly inviting during the monsoon. However, people widely avoid it during the heavy rains, as the area becomes prone to mudslides. The waterfall has claimed 11 lives in the last seven years. All the victims slipped on the rocks and drowned in the waterfall, a Kharghar police official revealed.

This monsoon, the forest office of the Panvel range has decided to station around eight to ten security guards at the waterfall. All guards will be hired from the villages nearby under the Joint Forest Management (JFM) scheme.

Anil Parab, range forest officer of Panvel range, said, “We do not want any untoward incidents at Pandavkada waterfall this year, where huge numbers of tourists turns up. We even check the entry of tourists into the waterfall, since there are around four routes to reach it. So we have decided to hire villagers from those areas that come under the Owe gram panchayat under the JFM scheme and rope in their services to beef up security at the waterfall. Three youngsters drowned in the waterfall last year. The villagers, who know every inch of the waterfall and its surrounding area, will be helpful in checking any untoward incidents.”

In order to pay the security guards their salaries, Rs 10 will be charged per tourist as entry fee for the waterfall. However, all transactions will be carried out by a JFM committee consisting of villagers from the Owe gram-panchayat.

“We are just facilitating the scheme so that the villagers can earn money by guarding the waterfall. The forest department will only ensure that all transactions are carried out properly by the JFM committee. After paying the salaries of security guards, the villagers can use the leftover amount for their own welfare,”said Parab.  

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