Kerala beefs up security in tourism destinations

In the wake of the recent death of Latvian tourist in the state, Kerala Tourism Department has decided to strengthen the tourism police force in the state, and is also planning to recruit more women to the force. Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, has informed informed this after a meeting held with senior tourism and police officials.

The Tourism Department and the Home Department have held joint consultations and arrived at plans to effectively ensure safety and security of tourists at various destinations in the state. “The recruitment of more women to the tourism police force is among the many decisions taken. The number of women to be appointed to the force would be decided after further consultations,” the minister said.

The tourism police personnel will be given uniforms of a different color so as to make them easily recognizable. The tourism police personnel will also be imparted training in interacting with tourists. They will be also trained to speak in different languages. A mobile app that would help people to easily get in contact with the police personnel will also be developed. “The app will be launched soon. Tourists who arrive at airports, railway stations, and bus stations would be able to access police help with the aid of a revamped tourism brochure that will incorporate all necessary information,” he added.

It was also decided in the meeting that all tourist destinations will soon have new Destination Committees, which will see the active participation of representatives from the home department, tourism department, local governing bodies, tourism industry and the like. These committees would meet on a regular basis and chart out plans to be implemented in the tourism sector of the respective destinations.

“Tourism wardens would be appointed to aid the police system. These tourism wardens would include both men and women personnel. Training imparted to the tourism police personnel would be given to the wardens too. Further, all vendors and guides at tourist destinations would be given identity cards and uniforms, so that people visiting these destinations would know that they are government-recognized vendors and guides. The selection of vendors and guides would be done only after proper police verification,” Kadakampally Surendran elaborated.

Besides, all tourism destinations would have mandatory closed circuit television cameras with a view on safety. Apart from the CCTV cameras installed by the tourism department, private entrepreneurs, hotels and such institutions will be directed to install cameras. The department will also install signage boards across all destinations. “Also, the shortcomings that are currently seen in lighting systems would be addressed,” the Minister said.

The police would prepare a list of history sheeters, and such people with criminal inclinations would be fully kept away from tourist destinations. “Strict action would be enforced on all those who indulge in criminal activities and use of narcotic substances,” the Minister said.

All decisions arrived at ensuring safety of travelers would be implemented in a very short time, the Minister said, adding that the implementation of all these measures would happen in the next couple of months. State Police Chief Loknath Behera IPS; Range IG Manoj Abraham IPS; Tourism Secretary Rani George IAS; Kerala Tourism Director P Balakiran IAS; Kerala Tourism Additional Director (General) Jafar Malik IAS; and others senior police and tourism department officials have participated in the meeting.