Roads to Kerala's Illickal Kallu tourist spot witness repeated accidents: Why?

As per reports, three people had died and over 30 were injured in various accidents in the last three months on the way to Illickal Kallu. Photo: Shutterstock/Jimmy Kamballur

Illickal Kallu in Kerala's Kottayam district is a scenic spot known for its picturesque monolith that stands 3,000 feet above sea level, and it is a favourite spot for hikers, trekkers and photographers. However, the roads to the spot recently became precarious for visitors and drivers, as accidents are reported regularly of late. A few days ago, a car overturned here, killing a man. As per reports, three people had died and over 30 were injured in various accidents in the last three months. Tourists usually take three roads to reach Illikkal Kallu:
1)Teecoy – Meladukkam – Illikkal Kallu road
2) Moonnalivu – Mankombu temple – Illikkal Kallu road
3) Kanjiram Kavala – Melukavu – Mechal – Nellappara – Illikkal Kallu (a turn at Melukavu also leads to Ilaveezhapoonchira, another tourist spot)
Besides these, tourists can also reach the valley near Illikkal Kallu by taking the Thalanadu – Kaalakoodu – Illikkalk Kallu road. You cannot reach the main viewpoint on a vehicle and will have to trek for about an hour to reach the top. The main reasons for accidents as per recent reports are:

  • Lack of experience driving in the unfamiliar terrain of the region

  • Shortage of warning boards at steep bends and slopes

  • Lack of crash barriers

  • Tall grass on both sides of the road

  • The chopped grass in the Teecoy – Meladukkam – Illikkal Kallu road hasn’t cleared yet and has been left on the roadsides. Fallen trees and wood too pose danger to the vehicles.

Local people say the following steps should be taken to keep the roads safe:

  • Place more warning signs and boards at various spots

  • Boards showing the speed limit should be placed on both sides of the road

  • Crash barriers at the turns

  • The grass and creepers on the roadsides should be trimmed at regular intervals

  • Drivers should be more careful while driving in unfamiliar terrain

  • Downshift the gear before climbing uphill or on a steep slope and use the same gear for descending too

  • Do not overtake in a dangerous manner

  • Be careful while driving in the monsoon as the roads may be slippery

  • Leaflets with instructions for safe driving could be distributed at the DTPC’s office in the Illikkal Kallu parking ground. 

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