The next time you head to Dassam Falls with your family, please do so at your risk.
The state tourism department on Tuesday officially declared the tourist hot spot at Bundu in Ranchi district “highly dangerous” in what comes as a serious warning for New Year revellers.
State tourism secretary Sajal Chakraborty said they decided to dub Dassam as unsafe after receiving no support to turn the picturesque waterfall risk-free and people-friendly in the wake of the drowning of a school student on Christmas-eve. He went on to add that many of their plans could not kick off, thanks to the apathy of the district administration and local-level politics.
“This place is out of anyone’s control and hence, we finally decided to call it highly dangerous. We cannot stop people from coming here, but whoever go to the waterfall will be doing so at their own risk. The tourism department will not be liable for any incident or mishap,” he said at a news meet.
For Jharkhand, which is touted as a potential tourist hub, the move cannot augur well, especially in the beginning of the new year when crowd count swells at all picnic spots. But lack of safety measures and amenities at tourist destinations had always been a major concern for the state with Jharkhand High Court pulling up the department last month.
Chakraborty said except Dassam, they were working on amenities like toilets, drinking water kiosks and recreational facilities at other spots like Jonha Falls, Hundru Falls and Panchgagh. “I am going to write to the high court about the problems in Dassam once the vacation is over,” he added.
The tourism secretary explained that after December 24 when the Hazaribagh student died while trying to click pictures at the waterfall, they were determined to make the spot safe and secure, but a section of local villagers put up stiff resistance.
“There are two panchayats in Dassam — Chirgu and Taimara comprising several villages. Except one named Pansakam in Chirgu panchayat, everyone is ready to help us develop amenities in Dassam. They understand this will give them jobs and other benefits. However, Pansakam villagers are against the measures because they make money if people drown in the waterfall and they are roped in to fish out bodies,” he said.
Chakraborty further said that the local administration and police had expressed their helplessness to provide round-the-clock security, except on special occasions, fearing Naxalite attacks. “Tourism cannot prosper when the local administration itself is terrified,” he added.