The Kerala government today decided to strengthen tourism police force and recruit more women personnel as part of a series of measures in view of the recent rape and murder of a foreign holidayer near beach resort Kovalam here.
The decision aimed at ensuring safety and security of tourists was taken at a high level meeting state Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran held with senior tourism and police officials.
Other decisions included providing uniforms of a different colour for tourism police, imparting training in interacting with the holidayers and launch of a mobile app that would help in contacting police personnel, Surendran said.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of the tragic death of 33-year-old Latvian woman, who came here for holidaying and treatment at Kovalam, he said.
The woman had gone missing under mysterious circumstances on March 14 and her highly decomposed and headless body was recovered from a mangrove forest at nearby Thiruvallam on April 21. Later, police arrested two local youths on the charge of raping and murdering her.
Noting that all tourist destinations would soon have new 'Destination Committees', the Minister said representatives from the home and tourism departments, local governing bodies and industry stakeholders would be included in these panels.
The committees would meet on a regular basis and chart out plans to be implemented in the tourism sector in their areas.
Surendran said tourism wardens, both men and women, would be appointed to aid the police and given special training.
Further, all vendors and guides at tourist destinations would be given identity cards and uniforms.
Their selection would be done only after proper police verification, he said.
Besides, all tourism destinations would have mandatory closed circuit television cameras with a view on safety.
People with criminal inclinations would be kept away from the tourist destinations of the state, he said adding strict action would be taken against those who indulge in the use of narcotic substances.
State Police Chief Loknath Behera, Range IG Manoj Abraham, Tourism Secretary Rani George, Tourism Director P Balakiran and Kerala Tourism Additional Director (General) Jafar Malik were among those who took part in the meeting.
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