The police have imposed strict restrictions for the tourists who are likely to throng the district in the upcoming holiday season to enjoy the Neelakurinji bloom in Kerala's idukki district.
This time, Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) has bloomed at the Kallippara Hills, which is part of Santhanpara gramapanchayat in Idukki. The Kallipara Engineer Mettu is around one and a half kilometres away from Munnar-Kumily state highway. The visitors, including women and old people, hike the hilly paths to reach the summit that has been draped in a mesmerizing blue hue of the blooming strobilanthus kunthiana.
The entry time to Shantanpara-Kallipara hills has been restricted from 6 am to 4 pm. Big vehicles have been barred from entering this area.
The tourists who come in these vehicles should get down at the stipulated spot and reach Kallipara in the KSRTC feeder buses. The KSRTC services have been arranged from Poopara and Udumbanchola junctions.
Even though cars and bikes would be allowed to enter the area, they have to be parked at the specially allotted parking spots. The entry fee is Rs 20.
Two e-toilets have been installed at Kallipara for the tourists who are thronging the area to enjoy the Neelakurinji season. Considering the surging number of visitors, the Shanthanpara panchayat authorities had decided to install e-toilets in the area which lacks any facilities otherwise. The panchayat authorities said that emergency ambulance services too have been arranged here. In the last two days, five people who experienced physical discomfort were rushed to the valley by the volunteers to provide primary health care.
Ban on plastic
Sale of plastic water bottles and packed food has been banned in the hills where Neelakurinji has bloomed. The forest department and the volunteers have been conducting strict inspections to check whether the visitors are bringing plastic bottles or are damaging the flowering bushes. Meanwhile, plastic litter has been collected from various parts of Kurinjimala. The panchayat has decided to sell these and utilize the money for the activities of the Haritha Karma Sena.
No plucking of flowers
The Chief Wild life warden said that those who pluck Neelakurinji flowers or cause damage to the flowering bushes would be booked under the Wildlife Protection Act. Plucking and selling the Neelakurinji flowers would attract fines and other legal punishments.