Pune, 29th December 2023: In anticipation of New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Forest Department in Pune is taking proactive measures to prevent disturbances caused by rowdy tourists on forts, hills, and forest areas near the city. With a three-day consecutive holiday period, the department has banned camping, pitching tents, and staying in protected areas, particularly at the base of forts.
To curb the growing trend of unauthorised gatherings and parties in secluded areas, the Forest Department, in collaboration with the Joint Forest Management Committee workers, will intensify night patrolling on hills including Tamhini, Mulshi, Sinhagad, and Lonavala.
Over the past years, an influx of people celebrating December 31 in forest areas and on forts has prompted the Forest Department to enhance night patrolling during the New Year’s Eve period. The department aims to prevent illegal activities, such as pitching unauthorised tents and setting fires, in reserved forest areas.
The Forest Department warns of strict action against those violating rules, emphasizing the prohibition of walking in reserved forest areas after sunset. Assistant Conservator of Forests, Deepak Pawar, confirmed that tourists would not be permitted to enter Sinhagad after 6:00 PM on New Year’s Eve.
Due to the extended holiday period, a significant number of tourists are expected to visit state-protected forts like Sinhagad, Rajgad, and Torna on New Year’s Eve. The Forest Department plans to collaborate with local law enforcement to prevent overnight stays at these forts, ensuring law and order are maintained.
In light of the potential for disturbances and abuses in historical structures, including forts, the ‘Akhil Maharashtra Federation’ has appealed to tourists to avoid camping and settlement on New Year’s Eve. The federation emphasizes the cultural significance of these sites and discourages activities like drinking, preparing or eating meat, loud singing, and dancing, highlighting the risk of accidents in crowded conditions.
The Akhil Maharashtra Federation will conduct a public awareness campaign over the next three days to discourage inappropriate behaviour on New Year’s Eve, aiming to preserve the glory of Maharashtra’s historic forts.