The Maharashtra forest department has decided to shut the longest zipline at 1,300 feet between two mountains in Matheran,the smallest hill station in the country about 90 km from Mumbai.
Apart from tourist safety,concern for trees in the eco-sensitive region has prompted the move.
There has been a sudden surge in the number of operators promising a birds eye view of the valley,when,according to forest officials,none of them has the permission to do so. We have received several complaints from residents of Matheran and are in the process of shutting this activity, Krishna Allurkar,Assistant Conservator of Forests (Alibaug),said.
Matheran and surrounding areas have been declared an eco-sensitive zone,putting a cap on industrial and other development.
Valley crossing was introduced as an adventure sport nearly a year ago. Ropes are tied to multiple trees. Pits are dug at the roots of trees and holes are drilled into trees for cables to pass, Maria Vaz,owner of Hope Hall Hotel and an environmentalist,said. She and others have written to Raigad district collector H K Jawale for immediate action.
The longest zipline between Alexander and Rambaug points is at 1,300 feet and operators charge between Rs 400 and 500 for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of crossing the valley,Siddhesh Wagle,a resident,said. At least 13 such points were being used for valley crossing without permission,Vaz said.
For Matheran municipal council President Ajay Sawant argued that it is a means to earn a livelihood for youngsters. A Centre-appointed panel is monitoring the developments and the feasibility of the project.