Kabirwad, a famous pilgrimage island spot situated along the Narmada river in Bharuch district, has come under the radar of the forest department because of the increasing crocodile menace across the Narmada river bank that flows through the district. Forest officials have put up a signboard warning the pilgrims of the presence of crocodiles in the river, which in turn has affected the flow of tourists this season.
Other than various spots across 38 villages situated along the Narmada river, the forest department officials have also put up prominent warning signs on spots along the river where tourists come in large number, including Kabirwad and Nareshwar – two important pilgrim spots.
To reach Kabirwad, which is famous among tourists as Saint Kabir stayed here for many years, one has to go on boats. There is a huge banyan tree on the island from which the name is derived. There is a Kabir Temple on the island which attracts pilgrims in large numbers, especially during summer. Signboards indicating the presence of crocodiles have affected tourist flow with the number of daily tourist inflow having come down to around 100 from around 200 seen every day during summer, local officials said.
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“Warning signboards have been put up along the river bank to warn residents of the possible presence of crocodiles so they could be careful when entering the water,” a forest department official said. “This seems to have caused concern among the pilgrims as several recent cases of crocodile attacks on humans have been recorded,” an official said. Recently, there have been several cases of crocodiles attacking and killing humans.
On May 21, an NRI, Hitesh Barot, was killed by a crocodile when he entered the Narmada river at his ancestral village Bhalod in Bharuch district. In yet another incident that took place at Jhanor village, also situated on the banks of Narmada in Bharuch, a youth was killed by a crocodile. A 15-year-old was similarly dragged away in Nareshwar, also an important pilgrim spot in Bharuch.