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Old 22nd October 2009, 15:09   #1
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Default SAVE TADA clean-up trek - NOV 1 - A New Beginning


Besides being a TBHPian, I am member of The Chennai Trekking Club (CTC). We organize weekly treks to various mountain and forest locations in South India during weekends.

Tada is a well known trekking and picnic destinations just 2 hours North of Chennai. TADA - A Mysterious location, beautiful scenery, pristine waters, crystal clear pools, fresh flowing streams, breathtaking views and the gorgeous Tada waterfalls - this is how Tada was described a few years ago. All this is already becoming history.

A couple of years ago, this was Tada

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Some Best Photos by CTC members taken during treks are below.

Picasa Web Albums - Chennai - Best of Tada ...

Picasa Web Albums - viki - Tada-August 3...

Picasa Web Albums - vivek yadav - tada trek, 12...


Tada is described as a place filled with garbage, liquor bottles, broken glass pieces, plastic covers, plates, plastic water bottles, wrappers of biscuits, assorted snacks, aluminium foils, metal caps, clothes, footwear and what not? - It is also home to those anti-social elements who drink there and cause harm not only to the general public but also to the peaceful trekkers either directly or indirectly.

This is how the place looks like now.

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More such pics: Picasa Web Albums - Naveen - Tada_Pollution

Its high time we acted upon this; We as trekkers and nature enthusiasts share a common goal of protecting nature. Yet we have not managed to do much about the anti-social activities happening out there in the name of the so called "Eco-Tourism". Absolutely no rules are being followed in this place, no one ever bothers to check if the rules are being obeyed, plastic wastes are scattered everywhere - yet not a sign of dusbins(At least along the main route to the falls that everyone takes).

The pictures above open the doors to reality, it appears as if mother nature is desperately crying for help. If left unnoticed, the whole place would die out eventually. Friends, lets come together on this date, to help save mother nature before it reaches a point of no return; lets take up the responsibility and clean up this place apart from our usual fun filled trek; lets measure the waste extracted and let the officers know what has happened to a beautiful place in just a few years and document it. This would at least help reduce by a great extent, if not prevent, the use of plastics and littering around; this will make the authorities enforce basic rules that will preserve the beauty for ages to come. So that we can continue our passion and create a safe green home for mother nature.

To show its concern for Tada, CTC along with the help of media has decided to take up the clean-up operation under its flag. Friends, and to all those who love nature, come, be a part of this wonderful and responsible trek. Its time to show your part in conserving nature.

What can you do to help?

1. Endorse the Save Tada petition. The URL is Save Tada. (Varadhapalayam eco tourism) Petition

2. Give publicity to this effort by printing and displaying the Save Tada posters at your office/school/college/neighbouring shopping mall.

SAVE TADA clean-up trek - NOV 1 - A New Beginning-save_tada_poster_choice16.jpg

3. If you are a school / college student, talk to your NSS, NCC, Eco Club coordinator and join the trek as part of your respective club's activity. (If you are a parent, you can ask your child to do this too.)

4. If you are / have connections with the media (Press, TV, FM, Print), talk to /email the organisers and explore how you can give publicity for this activity.

5. Join this trek. We need a good number of people to clean-up and create a large impact.

SUMMARY of the trek
Objective - Trek/Walk to the Tada waterfalls and CLEAN-UP on the way back
Terrain rocks, some bushes, waterfalls
Difficulty easy, participants need to be healthy

Tada In CTC site:

The Chennai Trekking Club: TADA , April 12 - 2008
The Chennai Trekking Club: Tada October 2007

Duration 1 day in forest/hills, including clean-up
Distance - 3 hours North of Chennai, around 5km trek
Transportation - own (cars, bikes)
Expense - around 500Rs (shared petrol, food, ...)
Advance to be paid when joining 500Rs

Tada Waterfalls - Google Maps

Assemble Sunday 5am near TIDEL PARK main entrance
Pick up people along route (see pickup points below)
Leave Chennai before peak traffic

PICKUP POINTS ( All Chennai Locations):
TIDEL Park, Taramani 5am
Madya Kailash 5:10am
Guindy circle (Le Meridien) - 5:15am
Koyambedu (out gate of parking of public bus stand) - 5:40am
NH5 6am
Varadaiahpalem (for people from bangalore) - 7:30 am


Chennai Venkatigiri Route - Google Maps

All participants must carry following items:
What to carry during a trek? - The Chennai Trekking Club | Google Groups

Good walking shoes,
Carry 1 litre of water preferably bring 1 more empty bottle
Small/medium back-pack to carry water, food
Lightweight raining jacket to protect from possible rains
Torch to get around if we end up being late
One extra set of clothes
One thin plastic to protect luggage against possible heavy rains
Sun cap and cream
Camera and 500Rs cash
Food will be taken care of by us



Do's and don'ts during a trek
Do-s and don't-s during a trek - The Chennai Trekking Club | Google Groups

DROPOUT POLICY: CTC maintains a BLACKLIST policy against people who
drop out at the last minute without informing the organizers.

If you have any trek related queries please mail the organizers alone, mail-id's are mentioned below, don't spam the entire group
Santhosh: tp.santhosh@gmailx.com
Peter : peter.vangeit@gmailx.com
(Remove x from the gmail domains above)

Like to volunteer? Fill the form given in the link.

Here is a mail about action taken by CTC on the official front so far.


Vinod, one of our organizers, recently met with the District Forest Officers of the Southern AP districts and got a very positive response on CTC's planned cleanup trek and provided various ideas to keep the place clean in the long term. Read below + appealing to all members in CTC once again to sign our petition - (we got 360+ signatures as of now)

Save Tada. (Varadhapalayam eco tourism) Petition


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: vinod hari
Date: Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 11:47 AM
Subject: Re: Save Tada - Discussion with DFOs
To: Peter Van Geit, karthick.sundararajan@

Dear Peter,
Had 2 very fruitful conversations with the DFOs of Talakona-Mamanduru and Chittoor (East), Mr. Ramalingam & Mr. Sundar respectively, about Tada clean up. Both were very supportive and gave several suggestions. In fact Mr. Sundar also told me the steps he has taken and plans to take, all of which are really on the required lines. Please find below the key points mentioned by each of them.

The Tada falls is officially called Ubalamadagu Eco Tourism Area and falls under the control of Mr. Sundar, who took over as DFO of this area 3 months back. Following his first visit to the place in July, he says he himself was shocked at what was happening there. It seems about 2 years back, to make the place more tourist friendly, an Eco Tourism program was taken up by recruiting 10 local villagers to take care of cleaning, security, etc. But apparently, these chaps, with the backing of smalltime local politicians such as the Mandal head, etc., started harassing, collecting money for letting in alcohol, and even abetting in the vehicle break-ins, etc. Mr. Sundar had immediately sacked all these 10 people in July. But that had made the problem worse, as they now became even more uncontrollable and resorted to destroying forest dept property, barricades, etc. One month back, he had recommended to the PCCF that the forest be closed down completely to visitors rather than allow such deterioration. His boss had suggested that they make one more attempt at getting the local community involved and changing the situation. So about 1 week back, he has recruited 7 new people after speaking to the locals and telling them that if things don't change, they will lose all possibilities of revenue, employment, etc as he will be forced to close down the forest. He has also got some local NGOs involved as a balance to the political elements, in maintaining the place. He says, that if this attempt also fails, he will surely close it down.

He suggested that we, CTC, could help out in the following ways:
a. If we can go there now, to see if there is any improvement in the attitude and behavior of the new staff now & give him a feedback. (Our pre-trek this weekend can be a very good fact-finder. We can give him the feed back on Mon-Tue next week.)
b. When we reach there on Nov 1, we, as part of the public users, tell the locals how they could benefit by cooperating and if not, how we ourselves will stop coming and make a strong recommendation to shut down the place. Mr. Sundar says, he will also be willing to come to Tada on Nov 1 and help mobilise the locals for us to talk to them. (We need to get some Telugu speaking CTCians prepared for this.)
c. He also wants a strong letter from us on our letterhead highlighting the problems and urging strong action, so that his hands are strengthened to act firmly. He says, there is very little in writing from any of the public about this area. (Our petition needs to be resent to all our members to sign up. Only 200 odd signatures so far is quite less compared to our membership of 4000. Somehow, this needs to be boosted urgently.)
d. ( I suggested that we would meet him at Tirupathi or Chittoor next week and discuss what else could be done, to which he was very open and welcoming. I plan to go there on Mon or Tue (26 or 27). Anyone else willing to join me, is welcome. I will be driving down by car. Please also mail me any suggestions on points to discuss.)

Mr. Ramalingam gave the following suggestions in addition to ensuring that the local community is involved to achieve a permanent solution:
1. Strict enforcement of checking of bags & vehicles to prevent alcohol entry, if required by involving police assistance also.
2. A refundable deposit of say, Rs. 100 per head, to be collected while entering from each visitor. Receipt would be issued indicating number of plastic covers and bottles being taken in (after checking). On return, unless these are produced, refund will not be given.
3. Fine for alcohol use or garbage dumping in the forest.
4. Training of locals as route guides and insisting that each group has to go only with a guide. This will give more employment to locals and they will do the policing and cleaning also. He said this was the norm in Mamanduru, but Tada has many more visitors, so feasibility needs to be checked.
5. Highlighting to the locals the medicinal qualities of the pristine water and urging them to maintain its purity.
6. Putting up boards regarding Dos & Donts at the entrance in all three languages - Tamil, Telugu & English.
7. Set up a shop over a period of time, that will sell degradable bags, which people will be forced to buy to replace any plastic bags they are carrying, before entry.

Both of them also told about the severe shortage of people as they are not allowed to recruit. It seems their field force vacancies that are unfilled is about 40%. But despite these, they are willing and eager to do what it takes to clean up and keep it clean. They are also highly appreciative of this initiative by CTC.

Please let me have suggestions for the meeting with Mr. Sundar. Also, anyone else wants to join? Pre-trekkers, please make a good study in light of the recent efforts taken by the DFO.

Peter, please forward this to anyone else in CTC, if required, so that our petition gets more signatures.
Thanks & regards,

"There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 17:04   #2
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Nice Initiative. Hope your moves are well received by the local community and the Forest Office and you succeed in the 'Save Tada' mission.

I too am a regular trekker and it makes me sad to see the state of such places. People should understand that are not just spoiling the ecological balance in the area, but killing it.
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