This Winter, Famed Dzükou Valley Remains Off-limits To Visitors - Eastern Mirror
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This winter, famed Dzükou Valley remains off-limits to visitors

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Dec 21, 2020 11:07 pm
Dzükou Valley
A partial view of Dzükou Valley during summer season this year. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Dec. 21 (EMN):
December and January are the best months for adventurers from and outside the country to visit Dzükou Valley in Kohima, which is known for its pristine and breathtaking landscape.

However, as with most other things, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced community leaders to restrict visitors to the valley.

Since the pandemic began in Nagaland, members of the Southern Angami Youth Organisation (Sayo) have been enforcing the restriction of visitors, including locals.

‘We are keeping some caretakers at Dzükou to keep a check on trespassers,’ the president of Sayo, Zakieleto Tsükrü, told Eastern Mirror on Monday evening.

He added that they keep in touch with those persons manning the valley through mobile phones.

It was informed that scores of people from within and outside the state have reached out to Sayo through travel agencies seeking permission to visit Dzükou.

However, with the order in force, no one was allowed to set foot inside the valley.

It was informed that 36 persons, including locals and some from the neighbouring state of Manipur, were caught trespassing.

‘They were penalised and made to sign a bond before setting them free,’ Tsükrü said.

He added that in 2018, both Nagaland and Manipur government had ‘signed a written agreement that the passage to Dzükou should be only through the permitted two entry points (Viswema and Jakhama) and that any manner of trespassing to the valley is unauthorised and strictly restricted’.

Recently, the Southern Angami Public Organisation (Sapo) also issued a recent press release informing that ‘some miscreants from neighbouring villages were trying to intrude into Dzükou without the consent of the landowner’.

Vimezhol Theyo, president of Sapo, told this newspaper that forcefully trying to enter someone’s territory without taking permission is unlawful.

Could reopen with strict SOPs

As a result of the pandemic situation, Sayo informed that that they are still unable to lift the restriction. However, they have notified that the valley will be open for trekkers and visitors “soon again” after consultations with Sapo and competent authorities.

Even if the restrictions are lifted, every trekking group will be required to follow mandatory Covid-19 protocols while visiting the valley, it was informed.

It said that as per the government’s directive, either 50 or 100 people could be allowed to visit Dzükou at a time with necessary protocols.

However, Tsükrü shared that one-day trips will be encouraged rather than camping at the valley’s rest house due to the gravity of the present situation.

It was learnt in order to protect Dzükou’s biodiversity from littering, camping at the valleys and caves like before are banned now, except at the allotted rest house.

It may be noted that Dzükou Valley was declared a plastic-free zone last year.

Wild animals sighted

While hunting has been banned in Dzükou Valley, it was learnt that owing to less human visitation in recent times, wild animals like deer, wild boars have been spotted and the sounds of tragopan and other birds could be heard even around the “rest house”.

Concerning the footprints of elephants still being found at Dzükou, Tsükrü shared that after their presence was noticed in the 1970’s, the jumbos were never seen again.

Currently, the streams and rivers in Dzükou have turned into ice while the landscape is covered fully by grass.

At present, the famed valley has a helipad inaugurated; however, the service is not utilised regularly due to the unpredictable climatic conditions.

However, trekkers have been able to travel halfway to Dzükou by cars.

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Dec 21, 2020 11:07:31 pm
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