Death of woman: closure of resort ordered

Property was functioning without any licence

The Wayanad district administration on Sunday ordered the closure of a resort at Elambilery, near Meppady, where a tourist from Kannur was trampled to death by a wild elephant on Friday night.

Wayanad Collector Adeela Abdulla told The Hindu after a brief visit to the Rain Forest resort at Elambilery on Sunday that she had directed the Meppady grama panchayat officials to close the resort as it was found that it had been functioning without any licences. The resort owners had also failed to maintain safety standards in the makeshift tents put up on the premises of the property, Ms. Abdulla said.

DDMA order

As the local administrative bodies were granting licences for the functioning of resorts and home stays, the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) would issue an order soon to check the functioning of resorts and setting up makeshift tents on their premises, she said. The order would be issued in consultation with the officials of local administrative bodies and the Forest Department, she said.

The Vythiri tahsildar was directed to submit a report on the functioning of the resort, Ms. Abdulla said. The resort was set up in a remote area of a cardamom plantation on the left bank of a rivulet of the Chaliyar river and on the three sides of the property was forest under the Meppady forest range in the South Wayanad forest division, Forest Department sources said.

The resort owners had set up close to 30 tents on the banks of the rivulet without erecting any fence on the forest fringes to keep the wildlife at bay, the sources said.

Without permissions

Meanwhile, the Wayanad Prakruti Samrakshana Samiti, an environmental organisation in the district, said hundreds of private resorts were functioning on the fringes of the forest of the South and North Wayanad forest divisions and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in the district without the permission of the authorities concerned.

Close to 300 private resorts and home stays were operating on the slopes of the Camel Hump mountain complex, consisting the Chembra, Vellarimala and Elambilerymala mountains, by flouting all norms. Many of them had set up illegal tree huts, makeshift tents and glass bridges on rock cliffs on the ecologically fragile area. The glass bridges erected in many resorts in the Thollayiramkandy area in Meppady grama panchayat had been operating without the permission of the authorities concerned, N. Badusha, president of the organisation said. Hence the district administration should adopt stringent steps to control such properties, he added.

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