Eco-development programme is implemented in the Lakkomkudy tribal settlement located inside the park and in the Parappayarkudy, Parakudy, Nooradikudy Muthuvan settlements which are on the fringe of the National Park. The association between HRWEPA and the National Park which begin since the inception of the park still continues. With the formation of professional EDC’s, the programme now covers the members of these EDC’s namely Watchers, Vendors and Drivers EDC.
The sudden bloom of tourists which started with the massive flowering of Neelakurinji during 1994, increased during the flowering in 2006. Now the average visitation at Rajamala during the last 3 years has been around 4, 00,000. In order to deal with the massive flow of the visitors, in addition to the existing 5 EDC’s namely Watchers EDC, Lakkomkudy EDC, Parappayarkudy EDC, Parakudy EDC and Nooradykudy EDC, two professional EDC’s, namely Vendors EDC and Drivers EDC, were constituted and the present visitor management system was introduced in 2006. Now all the private vehicles are stopped at the entrance of the park and the visitors are carried in mini buses owned by Anamudi Forest Development Agency (AFDA) and operated by the EDC’s. Amenities to the visitors such as cafeteria, amenity centre, enquiry counter, interpretation centre, toilets etc are managed by the EDC members.
The system is able to tackle the heavy visitation to the National Park successfully.
With the aim of the creating more job opportunities to the local dependent population, the Lakkom Waterfall which is located outside the park on its southern boundary came into operational in 2006 which is managed by the tribal EDC members from Lakkomkudy. More eco-tourism programmes like short trekking and camping are on the anvil.
These eco-development programmes are aimed to positively interfere with the socio economic status of the forest dependent communities, especially tribal people to gain their confidence and thus help in the conservation initiatives.