Tourist guides, operators and other concerned people blocked the highway at Kodaikanal after the Tamil Nadu government banned tourism in the major tourist spots of Kodaikanal and Nilgiris in view of surging Covid cases.
Kaliyappan, a tourist guide who is working in the industry for the past two decades while speaking to IANS said, “We understand the issues regarding Covid surge, but the point is why don’t the government allow the tourist flow with all necessary precautions. This is affecting our livelihood, I don’t know how to protect my family including three children, wife and my aged parents. This is the only source of income and hundreds are depending on the tourism sector here.”
The state government had ordered a ban on tourism at the tourist spots of Nilgiris and Kodaikanal from Tuesday onwards and this has led to the protest at Moonjikal in Kodaikanal.
Nilgris district collector, J. Innocent Divya told IANS said, “The borders are not closed for people travelling for medical or trade purposes and if they show the relevant papers, they will be allowed to cross the border.”
The district collector also said that all essential services will be allowed in the border. She said, “Special teams will be deputed at the borders to check all the relevant documents and as I said earlier those travelling for medical or trade purposes will be allowed but not tourists.”
With hundreds of people at the hill stations of Kodaikanal and Nilgris facing the heat at Tamil Nadu’s major tourist spots, it is to be seen how people will cope up with the ban as the day to day affairs of these tourist spots are invariably linked to the flow of tourists.
Jalaludin ,a tourist taxi driver at Kodaikanal told IANS, “It is unfortunate and we were slowly coming up after the 2020 lockdown and with the latest ban of Tamil Nadu government at Nilgiris and Kodaikanal, we know that we are done. My humble request is to allow tourists with all the Covid protocols.”