Off-road drivers may soon get badges

As part of regulating the tourism activity and ensuring safety of visitors, the authorities have decided to give badges to the drivers of multi-utility vehicles (MUVs) offering off-road safaris to Kolukkumala in Idukki district of Kerala.

A meeting called by Devikulam sub collector V R Premkumar had directed the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) to inspect the condition of MUVs offering such services in Idukki. The meeting also decided to operate MUV safari at Kolukumala under the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC).

A team of officials lead by Idukki DTPC secretary Jayan P Vijayan had earlier visited Kolukkumala and reviewed the off-road safari and other tourism activities in the area. The district authorities are planning to implement Ramakkalmedu model at Kolukumala. Earlier, the DTPC had implemented badge system for MUV drivers who offer services to Ramakkalmedu. The DTPC Secretary will submit a detailed report to the sub-collector next week.

The Devikulam sub-collector had banned trekking and MUV safari in the Kolukkumala route recently. Around 70 to 120 Jeeps were conducting safaris on this route. Off-road safaris and trekking are the main attractions in the region. But speeding and careless driving had resulted in the death of three tourists last year.

The Motor Vehicle Department has directed all vehicles offering safari rides to present their vehicles for checking before April 30. During inspection, the MVD had found that many unfit vehicles were being used for safari. From May 1, the MVD will seize the illegal vehicles and issue identity cards to eligible drivers.