Aurangabad: While many tourists visiting Ajanta Caves have been affected by the ongoing MSRTC strike, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and other authorities continue to remain silent on the difficulties faced by visitors.
As the shuttle service on the 4 km road between Fardapur T-point and Ajanta Caves continues to be suspended due to the strike, several tourists have complained that local bullock cart owners are charging fares. exorbitant. “We came to see the Ajanta caves in Rajasthan. As the buses do not go through the caves, the owners of ox carts ask us to pay 1,600 Rs per trip, which is very high. We cannot reach the site on foot, ”said a tourist.
The Aurangabad Tourism Development Foundation, a forum of different stakeholders in the local tourism and hospitality industry, accused the MTDC of acting irresponsibly by failing to protect the interests of tourists. “It is painful that MTDC and other authorities are not making other arrangements for tourists. Many people have no choice but to travel from Fardapur on ox carts paying a huge sum or on foot to the destination. Children and the elderly are among the most affected, ”said Foundation President Jaswant Singh.
“Unfortunately, although the MTDC has a regional office in Aurangabad, no permanent staff has been assigned there. The staff here do not care about the realities on the ground. They specifically said that MTDC’s role is only to look after the resorts and nothing else. In a letter to Aaditya Thackeray, Maharashtra’s tourism minister, stakeholders called for immediate official intervention to end the plight of tourists.
MTDC regional director Moushani Kose said a letter has been sent to the district administration requesting the provision of private buses to reach Ajanta caves from Fardapur t point. “We don’t have the power to start an alternative shuttle service. The head of the SDM has been asked to make the necessary arrangements, ”she said.
According to official data, a total of 10,645 Indian tourists and 53 foreign tourists visited Ajanta Caves in October. The number reached 9,748 (9,675 Indians, 73 foreigners) between November 1 and 8 during the Diwali holiday. Aurangabad district collector Sunil Chavan could not be reached for comment.