The Meppadi Panchayat has ordered the temporary closure of all resorts and homestays within the panchayat area. This action follows the incident where a young woman was trampled to death by an elephant while staying at a resort in the area. The panchayat will inspect the licence of all resorts and homestays and will resolve the allegations that have been raised against these enterprises for quite some time. The authorities have informed that only institutions with proper licence will be able to continue functioning while everyone else will be disbanded.
Shahana Kallarapurayil was staying at a resort in Meppadi's Elimbileri when she was trampled to death by an elephant on Saturday. The two others with the 26-year-old Kannur resident tried to rush her to a private hospital, but she was brought dead.
A probe by the panchayat authorities revealed that the resort was only functioning with a homestay licence, and they had extended their housing facilities to illegal tents in the forest area. Since the area wasn't residential, there weren't any measures to keep animals out of the location, especially elephants. The original probe led to the closure of the resort and further actions against its owners.
Wayanad has been facing an issue of unlicensed resorts and homestays that has been attracting tourists with discounted packages and adventure tourism especially following the Covid-19 lockdown. However, the tents and stays are mostly planned inside the forest areas where they don't have a license and so no security measures to keep the clients safe. There have been repeated incidents in the past, especially since the panchayat authorities have no clue about such activities.