Four days after the Raigad district administration announced the closure of Janjira Fort – a popular tourist attraction in Murud– from December 25 to January 2, 2021, the administration on Monday decided to reopen the fort for tourists after boat operators and hotel owners complained of losses. The district administration has, however, limited entry to not more than 400 visitors a day.
Raigad Collector Nidhi Choudhari had on December 24 decided to close the fort to prevent crowding to check the spread of Covid-19. According to local residents, the Janjira Fort in the Arabian Sea attracts up to 2,500 tourists daily in the holiday season. Owing to its proximity to Mumbai, Pune and Thane, Raigad sees a large number of tourists visiting the coastal district.
The district administration has also advised boat operators and tour organisers to ensure that safety protocols like wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and plying their boats below full capacity are observed.
Boat operators and hotel owners had urged the district administration to reopen the fort stating that due to Christmas, many tour-ists had booked hotels and bought tickets to visit the fort. Tourism being the main source of livelihood in Murud, local residents would be “driven to starvation” if the fort remained closed, they had added. Following representations from the residents, district officials said that SP Ashok Dudhe had asked tour operators to monitor entry of visitors to the fort and seek help from local people to following Covid-19 safety protocols.