Locals Block Roads Leading to Waterfalls in Goa amid Covid-19 Fears

Residents of some villages in Goa have blocked roads leading to the picturesque waterfalls in the state to prevent visitors from going there in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and to avoid nuisance at those places.

A number of waterfalls are located in the coastal tate's Sattari, Sanguem and Canacona talukas which spring to life during the monsoon season, attracting visitors.

Most of the waterfalls under Sattari taluka of North Goa district fall within the Mahadeyi Wildlife Sanctuary area.

On Sunday, residents of Brahmakarmali village in Sattari blocked roads leading to a waterfall there by laying trees. They also put up boards, cautioning visitors not to go to the waterfall or indulge in merry-making.

Parag Khadilker, member of the Nagargao panchayat in Sattari, said picnickers and trekkers created nuisance by throwing garbage, plastic and broken liquor bottles near the waterfalls and in other forest areas.

"The outbreak of COVID-19 is also one the reasons why we are prohibiting visitors here. Let the COVID-19 situation normalise, then we can think of welcoming people, he said.

Suresh Naik, a local from Sanguem taluka in South Goa district, said villagers have put up boards on roads leading the waterfalls to stop the entry of visitors to the area.

"We were shocked when the first COVID-19case was detected in Sanguem earlier this month. We dont want the virus to spread further, he said.

Similarly, locals at Cotigao in Canacona taluka of South Goa were also prohibiting people from visiting waterfalls in the area.

"It was a collective decision of the villagers not to allow visitors to the waterfalls, said Shivkautuk Desai, a resident of Cotigao.

Though legally no one can be banned, villagers urge the visitors not to enter the area and most of the times the travellers listen and go away, he said.

Till Saturday, Goa reported 754 COVID-19 cases.