Seethathode: Gavi ecotourism center is an internationally recognised travel spot in Kerala. However, tourists arriving here will be welcomed to an array of inconveniences rather than the joyful experience they are seeking. The spot even lacks drinking water.
The ecotourism center is completely under forest department. It spends lots on advertisements for Gavi. But there is no provision for drinking water or food or basic facilities for that matter. However, those who book online packages on the official website of the forest department are provided all facilities.
As Gavi tourism spot is situated inside the forest, there are no shops or any other stalls here and private enterprises are not allowed.
Earlier a small canteen had functioned here. It was helpful for the tourists and the labourers then. But the forest department intervened and shut it down. Following this, Kudumbashree was allowed to open the canteen but that was closed down two years back because of scuffle between the members.
Thousands of tourists flock Gavi daily. But only those who book packages through forest department website are provided basic facilities. The visitors coming with family and especially children are facing difficulties. Food is available only at Vandiperiyar, a distance of 35 km.
The Pathanamthitta district administration had said multiple times earlier that basic facilities will be arranged here, but nothing was realised. If the canteen building is given for lease, it would help the tourists arriving here and also help in increasing the revenue. Many are ready to take the tender but forest department is reluctant.
“Forest department is responsible to arrange basic amenities here. Money is collected from the people as entry fee at each check post for persons and vehicles seperately. Atleast drinking water and toilet facilities should be arranged on humanitarian grounds," said Anilkumar P R, an NRI.