In order to prevent the spread of Corona virus in the rainy season, which is expected to be normal this year, Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram has issued an order banning entry of tourists at popular places like Lonavala’s Bhushi dam, Malshej ghat, Bhatghar, Panshet dam, Khadakwasala dam, Tamhini ghat and other places this monsoon.
There will however be no restrictions in going to places in Maval, Mulshi or Lonavala for necessary work, the collector has clarified.
Some places in and around Pune which get a massive footfall from tourists from across the state, witness a large crowd especially on weekends thus leading to big traffic jams. The order will bring some respite to traffic police, especially in Lonavala who have a hard time managing traffic on weekends.
If people are found violating the order, an offence under Section 188 will be registered against them.
Puneites who frequent these places every monsoon have welcomed the decision. Mayur Rane, a trekker and regular visitor to dams said “The move was absolutely necessary, given the current situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus. Places around Pune tend to become overcrowded specially waterfalls and dams where the risk of corona spread would have been at an all-time high. People now should be careful enough and not venture to these places.”
Another trekker Harshal Agarwal added, “Now it is on the public to follow the rules and help the authorities. There will be some people who might tend to break the rules. They will have to be dealt with as per the law. It is a good move but has to be followed by all.”
Meanwhile, localities who set up stalls near dams and other frequented places are a worried lot. Anil Bhagat from Lonavala who earns a decent amount in the monsoon season selling vada pav, tea and corn said “There are a lot of people like me who depend on the rainy season for our income. We will have to shift places this year as there is no option.”