After the natural disaster at Kedarnath, the citizens have started to raise their eyebrows regarding the agencies. Have the tour and travel agencies registered with the competent authorities? Are there any Government rules, regulations and guidelines for these agencies? Are the agencies following them in letter and spirit? Who is the controlling authority? And so many questions on the same lines are being raised by the affected relatives and common citizens.
Nagpur News: The natural disaster at Kedarnath and several nearby areas in Uttarakhand, has in a natural way, exposed nasty nexus between tour and travel agencies and various Government agencies like police, RTO and others. Now, even questions are being raised over whether the Maharashtra Government has laid any rules, regulations, and guidelines for tour and travel agencies? Whether the agencies have registered themselves, if yes, then with which Government Department? Are the tour and travel agencies inform the concerned authorities of their lists of passengers and plans of destinations?
It may be mentioned appropriately, now-a-days, the number of people going on pilgrimages has increased considerably. So is the number of the tour and travel agencies in every corner of the Orange City.
The land tsunami, if one were to define the Mother Nature’s fury, in the shape of cloud burst which triggered heavy rains and floods, has trapped thousands of pilgrims from across the nation. The communication of any sort with the trapped pilgrims has totally been snapped causing grave panic, worries to the near and dear ones of the pilgrims. Some relatives have been, of course with sadness, anticipating the worst. Nagpur and surrounding areas, too, have a share of worry, panic, and fears of the worst. According to Government sources, till now 80 people from Nagpur have been found trapped in the disaster areas. But the Government has no confirmed figure of other hundreds of pilgrims apart from the 80 people from Nagpur.
The information on figure of Nagpur’s 80 pilgrims was the result of help line numbers provided by the District Administration. The help line number proved handy for relatives who successfully contacted their kit and kin. And the Administration, too, contacted the tour and travel agencies for information of the Nagpur people thus the collective efforts helped know the number of city pilgrims trapped in the tragedy areas. However, the tour and travel agencies did not provide the number of Nagpur people in the horribly dangerous areas on their own. This “deliberate negligent attitude” is making the District Administration uneasy and they are finding themselves utterly helpless.
The nasty fact, the tour and travel agencies hiding the correct information on the number of pilgrims from Nagpur for obvious reasons, was revealed when some relatives approached the offices of the agencies. Relatives got the ‘answer’ as many offices were found with shutter down. Even the addresses were fictitious.
The main problem, now-a-days is that any tour and travel agency organizes pilgrimage. But after the land tsunami at Kedarnath, the citizens have started to raise their eyebrows regarding the agencies. Have the tour and travel agencies registered with the competent authorities? Are there any Government rules, regulations and guidelines for these agencies? Are the agencies following them in letter and spirit? Who is the controlling authority? And so many questions on the same lines are being raised by the citizens.
Had the tour and travel agencies provided the lists of passengers who headed for Kedarnath and other nearby areas the Government would have found it easy to pinpoint the exact number of people trapped or missing. Now, the Government has learnt the lessons, albeit, at the cost of pilgrims, and is considering a crack down on unregistered tour and travel agencies under the pressue from the affected relatives and other citizens.
According to RTO rules, any tour and travel agency which is organizing a tour or pilgrimage has to furnish the list of passengers, and must have to do passing of the bus. However, a few persons initially organize tours by cars, but thereafter the same persons organize big tours like the one of Kedarnath. They book the passengers in Nagpur itself but a different tour and travel agencies from other cities in realty take the passengers to their destinations. Naturally, the list of passengers and the passing of the bus is not done. Here lies the serious problem. The police, too, are unaware of this shoddy deal.
The District Administration has provided a help line number 2562668 which can come handy for the relatives to get information about the whereabouts of their near and dear ones. A Control Room has been set up at Collectorate and it is functioning 24 hours, the Deputy Resident Collector Bhusari said.