Talk about money going down the drain, with the Forest Department of Panvel charging tourists an entry fee to visit the twin waterfalls at Pandavkada despite no facilities being provided to them.
Kiran Patil, member of the National Youth Congress Party that opposed the entry fee, said, “Charging an entry fee to visit the waterfalls is understandable, but when we met with Harishchandra Ahire, an official from the Forest Department , he claimed the money was being used for development of a nearby tribal village. It is unfair to ask visitors to pay for the villages.”
Money for nothing
“No facilities are provided. The site only has a few changing rooms, at a charge of Rs 50 which is too much. Even the road that leads to the site is not maintained and is in a very bad condition, if they are taking an entry fee, they should at least maintain the road or provide some facilities,” said Patil.
When questioned why the Forest Department was charging an entry fee, Harishchandra Ahire, an official from the Forest Department said, “The entry fee that we take is used for many purposes. The people who work there are paid their daily wages, following which the money is used for the development of a nearby village of tribals. Under the ‘Sayukta Van Vyavastapan Sameeti’ project we collect the fee and the money is used to provide electricity and other facilities to the village.”
Visitors at the site also seem a little agitated with the entry fee despite no proper facilities. A tourist on condition of anonymity said, “The place is generally visited by families and college students, and if people are charged such a high fee, they will hesitate from coming again. These waterfalls are a beautiful place to visit, and an appropriate fee would be around Rs 10-20. Anything more than that is not right.”
MiD DAY had reported on June 27 (Enjoy the waterfall, but at your own risk) about how there were an increasing incidents of loss of valuables at the site. With no security personnel in and around the area, it is very difficult to keep a check on anti-social elements prowling at the spot.