Rameswaram: Cracking down on substandard lodges in this town attracting devotees and tourists from the country and abroad, Rameswaram Municipality has ordered closure of 10 lodges and directed households not to function as "boarding premises".
"We have ordered closure of 10 lodges for non-renewal of licences and for not meeting the standards listed in licence conditions," G Kannan, Commissioner of Rameswaram Municipality said.
Only if such defaulting lodges fulfil the legal obligations would they be allowed to function again, he said.
Adequate ventilation, clean drinking water and sufficient parking space are among the requirements in licence conditions.
Also, owners of 35 houses who had been allegedly letting out their premises on rent to visiting pilgrims have been directed to stop the practice immediately as it is illegal.
"We have given notice to them and if they do not stop this practice, we will be constrained to recommend appropriate legal action," he said.
The action against lodges and errant households follows inspections last week after some employees of an old boarding house allegedly shot pictures of a woman tourist changing clothes.
The incident led to a furore and the employees arrested and the boarding house sealed by municipal authorities.
There are 120 lodges catering to visiting tourists. Also, several mutts have their own premises to cater to the needs of their devotees.
On other steps being pursued by authorities to ensure the safety of pilgrims, the official said separate enclosures for men, women and families will be built soon on the sea front in Agni Theertham point. A police help post has already been set up there, he added.