The morning silence of Bazar Vada junction at Collem on Sunday (October 22, 2023) is shattered by the rush of tourists who arrive to experience the thrill of the bumpy jeep rides to the majestic Dudhsagar waterfall, Goa’s largely visited and most-sold tourist attraction after watersports adventures.
The heat and humidity of the day are killing and for those who have to stand in a queue to book their jeep rides to the waterfall after doing online bookings, it is an unforeseen torture and a not-so-rosy tourism experience. Gomantak Times Digital on Sunday was witness to the chaos at the busy Bazar Vada junction.
‘I AM EXHAUSTED’
Praveen Kumar KV, a tourist from Hyderabad, wasn’t too happy standing in queue. “I came at around 9 am and now it has been almost two hours that I am standing in the queue to buy tickets for Dudhsagar. I am not able to understand when we will get tickets. I am already exhausted by this heat and humidity,” he said.
WHY QUEUE FOR LONG HOURS?
If Praveen Kumar’s experience was not pleasant, his counterpart from Hyderabad, Adil, who was standing in the same queue, also had nothing nice to say. “Why does one have to stand in a long queue for hours to buy tickets and that too after booking the trip online? If a token number is given, the same can be displayed on a screen or announced and the person can wait in a sitting area. Once the token number is flashed or announced, he or she can go and buy the ticket.”
Adil said the counter personnel are very slow at issuing tickets. “I came in at 11 am. Almost half of my day is already gone. Out of my schedule of eight days, I have lost one day because today I will be doing only Dudhsagar. Once I come back from the waterfall it will be evening,” he rued.
CHILDREN, PARENTS FACE INCONVENIENCE
He said it is very sad to see parents with their kids standing in the hot sun. “The humidity is too much to bear. This is really bad from the tourism point of view. I am appealing to the government to look into this because even after booking online one has to stand in a queue for hours,” he urged.
Shubam Joshi from Nagpur in Maharashtra has a similar grouse. “Why should tourists face the inconvenience of standing in the hot sun to buy tickets when they have booked online? We came in at 9 am and now it is noon and we are still in the queue. The experience is not only bad for me but for many people in the queue with whom I interacted,” Joshi said.
He added that their experience was not very good. “We will go and tell others what’s happening here. We will have to tell them that they have to come prepared to spend more time to get their tickets booked, despite online bookings,” he added.
Shubam Joshi, Nagpur, Maharashtra
The day was not without altercations between those standing in the queue for hours and the ticket booking counter personnel of Dudhsagar Tour Operators Association. The man guarding the entry gate of the counter is under tremendous pressure and has no time to be polite with the guests.
The chaos ensuing from the mad rush to see Dudhsagar waterfall implies that the entire booking process has to be streamlined further to make it smooth and hassle-free.
Joseph Barreto, who runs the Jungle Book Resort in the Bazar Vado area, says, “The chaos is inevitable. I have been urging, not only to streamline the booking process but add value to the entire Dudhsagar trip.”
Barreto has been a very strong votary of starting trekking in the area in line with the government’s avowed promise of giving a fillip to eco-tourism. “The ground reality at Dudhsagar is different. This is jeep-centric tourism that is happening here. The jeep operators feel everyone should use only jeeps to get to Dudhsagar, which means there is no place for trekking.”
Baretto recalled last year’s assault on him because he made a suggestion to hand over the jeep bookings to the forest department or Goa Tourism Development Corporation. “The chaos that we see here is because the jeep operators are not able to handle the bookings in a smooth manner,” he added.
The only trekking route that is open now is the jeep trail of around 10 kms. However, there is no sense of adventure on this route because it is also used by jeeps which create noise and raise dust inconveniencing trekkers.
ALTERNATE ROUTE FOR TREKKERS
Barreto had suggested an alternate route for trekkers, but the forest department has not been very cooperative. “The trekking route which is open in the rains is closed when the jeep trails start. The forest department in league with the jeep association and Collem panchayat is depriving trekkers of the adventure they want to experience,” he said.
Barreto says the daily mad rush at Bazar Vada is the mirror of Goa’s tourism and all that it is doing is sending a bad image of Goa to the world.