A Madras High Court bench has issued notices to the Central and the Tamil Nadu governments over the tourist town of Mamallapuram becoming a “dirty place” again, a month after it was cleaned and spruced for the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Treating the note of Justice N Kirubakaran as a PIL, the second bench of the High Court, headed by Justice Vineet Kothari, on its own issued notices to both the governments, returnable by December 11.
Justice Kirubakaran, who wrote a detailed note to the second bench about preservation of the ancient monuments in Mamallapuram, referred to the recent summit attended by the Modi and Xi, saying the entire town had been made sparking clean and decked up for the meet.
But after the summit concluded, it was seen from newspaper reports that people thronged the town and littered the entire area, which has not been cleaned up, “bringing back the very old position, making it a dirty place.” The CCTV cameras which were removed from public places after the high-profile meeting concluded must be re-installed and additional new cameras should be put up to ensure the safety and security of the public and foreign tourists.
Foreigners are afraid to visit many parts of India, where often incidents of rape and molestation of women and children were reported, the judge said.
As far as tourism is concerned, the safety of tourists, especially, women and children is paramount, he said, adding that the presence of CCTV cameras will act as a deterrent for criminals.
The judge suggested impleading the tourism ministry, Archaeological Survey of India, Epigraphic Society of India, municipalities and water supply departments, the DGP, the collector and the superintendent of police, Kanchipuram district, as respondents in the matter.
He also suggested that ”lighting shows” be arranged for UNESCO-declared monuments like Shore Temple, Five Rathas, Arjun Penance and Krishna”s Butter Ball on a daily basis or during the weekends.
No construction should be allowed to be made, which would hinder the view of the monuments. Littering of the town should be made an offence and fine of at least Rs 1,000 should be imposed on the defaulters, he said.
Encroachments, which had been removed on account of the summit should not be allowed to crop up again and political parties or outfits or associations should not erect boards or flag posts to avoid shabby outlook of the town, the judge said.
There should be a separate wing or police station with policemen fluent in English to deal with complaints from foreigners, while proper sanitation, healthy food, potable water and safe lodging must be provided, the judge said.
“Tourist guides should be authorised/approved by ASI and the tourism department and their numbers should be increased as it is stated that Tamil Nadu tops the table in Tourism with 28 per cent of tourists visiting the state,” he said.
Periodical inspections by quality inspectors will go a long way in ensuring hygiene at the restaurants and transport facilities for tourists should be made affordable while ensuring all safety measures are in place.
Among other suggestions, the judge said that touts and transporters fleecing tourists be dealt with firmly while a multi-lingual toll-free number should made available for them.
Mamallapuram should be declared a heritage town as several ancient monuments are located there, the judge said, adding that excavations being made at various sites should be continued and stone inscriptions and palm manuscripts should be preserved, digitalised and published by Epigraphic Society of India.
Reports about excavated sites should be regularly published by ASI and the governments should establish carbon-dating laboratory at Chennai, as many archaeological sites are located in the southern part of the country, the judge said.