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In Focus

Discretionary checks to Elephanta Island

It isn’t rare to find the launch service provider refusing to sell tickets to ‘single men’ or ‘single women’ entirely on whim citing, and orally only, a police direction towards the same. That it is outright illegal and preposterous to prevent anyone from legally travelling to the island without basis is lost on the police, state and government. But, who cares.

Tourists to Elephanta Island have to traverse through multiple layers of security checks

Entering the Gateway of India to aboard a launch for Elephanta Island is a mind-boggling task for tourists who have to traverse through multiple layers of security checks by police personnel; dodging barricades placed indiscriminately as stumbling blocks; frenetic frisking processes, a sea of obnoxious photographers and more. So, the security personnel on Elephanta Island and the highly-controlled entry-point processes only fall in place.

When a state decides to ‘promote’ a zone, one would presume that the promotion would include the initiation of processes towards the welfare of the zone, its people and the stake-holder - the tourist in this case. That, in the case of Maharashtra is simply not happening: While ignoring the most obvious parameters that need to be addressed, the state jumps the gun and begins to count the chickens even before the eggs hatch. After the lofty and much-touted Airbnb partnership, the delays in processes only embarrass the corporation. The footfalls remain relegated to projections on paper and the locals, spurred by greed and dizzying prospects of profit, left high and dry.

This report has been prepared for DraftCraft International’s Flagship Initiative, The Elephanta Island Project to research, analyse and determine the rights and liabilities of Islanders, local and foreign tourists vis-a-vis the responsibility of the State towards all stakeholders and natural resources while upholding the law of the land and ensuring the protection of environment that tops the list of priorities. The initiative examines laws and policies regarding islands, sea transport, privacy, women’s rights, health, protection of the environment and rights and liabilities of tourists guaranteed to all by the State in context of the Right To Equality, Freedoms, The Right to Life and Global Conventions to which India is a signatory.