Kasargod: The walls of the famous Bekal fort and the roof of the adjoining tourist bungalow have been damaged in the torrential rains that have battered the district. The outer wall of the second observation tower which lies to the east of the entrance has received severe blow in the heavy showers and wind.
This tower is more than 10 meters high and 7 meters wide. The mud plastering and stones from this part have been falling off, raising security concerns. Meanwhile, the visitors and tourists are banned from entering the inner bastions of the fort.
Tarpaulin sheets have been paved on the floor of the bastions to prevent the rain water from seeping into the structure. The officials at the fort said that they have informed the matter to the archaeology department. A group of experts from the Thrissur office would reach the fort to conduct inspections before beginning the restoration works. Rain water has been seeping through the places where the wall is damaged. The tourists are worried that this would weaken other parts of the fort as well. They have expressed concern that the present situation would severely affect the strength and sturdiness of the fortifications.
Ignored tourist bungalow
The tourist bungalow here is more than a century old and time has indeed taken a toll on the structure. The rooms are flooded and the old roof has taken a beating in the heavy rains and wind. The bungalow stands within the Bekal fort which sprawls in an impressive 36 acres of land. The public works department which owned this bungalow had handed it over, along with the adjacent 3.56 cents plot and the road which leads to the bungalow, to the state tourism department.
The BRDC had renovated this bungalow, around 10 years ago, by spending lakhs of rupees. The maintenance and the functioning of the structure were overseen by the BRDC. The tourists, now, demand that the structure should be renovated before it collapses entirely. The district tourism officials had submitted a request to the state tourism director, around 10 months ago, regarding the maintenance of the bungalow. However, no action has been taken in this regard.
On the verge of destruction
Another rampart of the fort, too, faces threat of destruction as the stone structures are weak and may fall off any time soon. This bastion is just beside the magazine in the fort. Barriers have been installed using iron rods to prevent the tourists from entering the fort beyond this point.