Hotel owners in Kodaikanal are appealing to HC to reconsider the e-pass system order

MADURAI: Many hoteliers in Kodaikanal hill station in Dindigul district have moved the Madras High Court to reconsider its recent ruling granting non-residents of Kodaikanal an e-pass to enter the hill station with effect from May 7.

Kodaikanal Hotel and Resort Owners Association president S Abdul Gani Raja on Thursday said stakeholders dependent on tourism will be forced out of business once the ruling comes into effect.

The flow of tourists, whose attendance will be high especially in this summer season of May, would decrease to a trickle.

It is likely that these new regulations would take Kodaikanal back to the bad old days of the COVID lockdown when tourists could enter Kodaikanal only on the basis of e-passes.

During the COVID scenario, due to the unhealthy situation, the authorities were forced to restrict the number of tourists traveling to Kodaikanal in the public interest to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is unclear how the HC ruling would apply to the non-residents of Kodaikanal and tourists, who come from all over the world.

He then wondered whether many stakeholders, who have commercial real estate investments from other states in Kodaikanal and visit this hill station, would be treated as ‘outsiders’ and denied entry into Kodaikanal. Outsiders can usually be tourists.

If vehicular traffic is a real concern due to traffic congestion, let authorities come up with effective strategies to prevent traffic congestion. He opined that ample parking space could be constructed for heavy vehicles at Perumalmalai and new multi-level parking facilities could be set up, and much space left in areas under the control of Forest Department could well be converted in vehicle parking lots, he opined.

KM Sivakumar, owner of agricultural lands at Pandrimalai in Kodaikanal, said he is visiting the hill station from Madurai and asked how he could be restricted as an outsider under the e-pass system.