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India: Picnickers destroy cashew plantations at Morlem

18 July 2017

Keri: As various government authorities started taking stringent action against undisciplined and rowdy picnickers at waterfalls in Sattari on Sunday, almost 2,000 persons flocked to the waterfall at Morlem, destroying hundreds of newly-planted cashew saplings and creating heaps of garbage.

Chandrakant Gaonkar of Kasarwada, Morlem, in Sattari has a cashew plantation in survey No. 144/1, called 'Devavoril Sarvo', but since the onset of the monsoon, various seasonal waterfalls have started flowing through his property and in reserve forest area. This has attracted thousands of picnickers, some of whom behave indecently and dump huge piles of garbage after their picnics here. He has already submitted a memorandum to the office of the deputy collector of Bicholim on July 5, 2017. The directives were already issued by deputy collector, Harish Adconkar, to take action against such picnickers at various waterfalls.

"So far, nothing concrete has been done to establish a law-and-order situation in my horticulture plantation and hundreds of newly-planted cashew saplings and fully-grown cashew trees have been destroyed by the picnickers. On Sunday, July 16, almost 2,000 picnickers visited the area and threw empty bottles, cans of alcohol and plastic plates and glasses along with half-eaten foodstuff," said Gaonkar.

Range forest officer, Keri, Geerish Bailudkar, when contacted by TOI said, "Along with the panchayat labour, our workers and forest guards are patrolling the area with police. We are collecting garbage and handing it over to the officials of the panchayat. But, on Sunday, a large number of picnickers came here."

Excise inspector, Valpoi, Amol Harwalkar, said, "We have posted six excise guards at Chorla-Keri, two at Naneli and four at Hedode. So far, our staff seized alcohol bottles worth Rs 4,500 from picnickers. Necessary staff will be appointed during the weekend at Kasarwada, Morlem."

Nilesh Shetkar, a social activist who visited 'Devavoril Sarvo' area in Morlem said, "As this area has 3-4 seasonal waterfalls gushing with great force and picnickers can safely enjoy the waters, the area is visited by large numbers of picnickers almost everyday during monsoon. The yield of the cashew plantation has been affected. Also new saplings and cashew trees are degraded by picnickers. Dumping of non-biodegradable garbage has intensified problems for the horticulturist."


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