Puliyancholai waterfalls, originating from the Kolli hills, located 80 kms away from Tiruchi, lack basic amenities. One of the major picnic spots in the district, it awaits adequate infrastructure to cater to the increasing footfall.
Recent rain has brought good inflows in the stream flowing down the hills thereby attracting visitors. While men are able to take a dip in the cool waters, women and children do not have the luxury to do so due to lack of amenities like changing rooms.
Despite the fact that the Tourism Department in 2019 sanctioned ₹35 lakh for creating basic facilities for visitors including separate changing rooms for men and women besides a cloakroom to store tourists’ belongings, only half the civil work has been completed.
“Though an entry fee of ₹10 per head is collected from tourists, the spot does not even have a shelter to safeguard the belongings of tourists from sudden showers and stray animals. There are no adequate toilets and drinking water facilities as well,” said D. Murali, a resident of Dheeran Nagar.
The amusement equipment remains damaged and the picnic shelter is inaccessible due to the thick growth of vegetation, say a group of tourists from Tiruchi.
“It is one of the areas where tourism potential has not been fully tapped. Once the place gets better infrastructure, the footfall will increase,” said K.C Neelamegam an environmental activist.
“People visiting the waterfalls are involved in anti-social activities making the place risky for families. To check such activities, surveillance cameras should be installed,” he added.
Although the COVID-19 lockdown was cited as the reason for the lapse, the work on improving basic amenities has been delayed. “Construction of changing room separately for men and women is under progress, and 90% of work on the cloakroom has been completed,” T. Jegatheswari, District Tourism Officer told The Hindu.
The contractor is said to have demanded an increase in the cost of the project citing escalation of cost of construction materials. “We have requested the Collector to intervene and order to expedite the construction work. In the next phase, we will facilitate toilets and drinking water facilities in addition to more lights and signage boards for Puliyancholai,” Ms. Jegatheswari added.