Rajapuram: The Ranipuram hills, exquisitely decked up by nature, is waiting are the gloomy COVID-19 days to pass to receive tourists. Though the local residents are against travellers visiting the hill station in Kasaragod district in the wake of the pandemic, many backpackers are currently scaling the hills by trekking on less travelled paths.
The local people opined that tourists who are bypassing the main route to the hill station are only inviting danger. The Ranipuram hill station has been closed down following the COVID-19-triggered travel restrictions and the resort owners and employees were left in the lurch as the number of tourists dipped drastically.
A record number of travellers – 60,000 – visited the hills last year resulting in the state government coffers swelling by Rs 18 lakh. And this year only two foreign tourists had visited this charming spot. Lack of adequate internet connectively is the main stumbling block in attracting more foreign tourists to the region.
The government-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has said that there are practical difficulties to put in place a strong network by investing lakhs of rupee in a region that is sparsely populated.
"Lack of visibility for Ranipuram on state’s tourism map and inadequate internet connectivity are the main reasons for fewer footfalls in this hill station. Under the prevailing conditions, tourists should avoid visiting Ranipuram," said S Madhusudhanan, president of Forest Protection Committee, Ranipuram.