In recent news, the high court of Uttarakhand has implemented a ban on the water sports at various tourism places of the state along with white river-rafting and paragliding. This ban is supposed to stay in place till a transparent policy has effectively been framed for regulation of the intensity of these water sports. This new order is sure to have negative impact on the tourism sector of the state in terms of revenue. However, as per the court, this new changes are being placed to reduce the occurrence of mishaps and accidents while indulging in these sports. The order was released on June 18 with a time frame of 2 weeks to come up with a proper and transparent policy for the activities.
The court took mark of the yearly deaths from river rafting which shall from henceforth be allowed for the professionals who are highly trained. The court also stated that indulging in these sports just for pleasure that ends up in disaster or death cannot be allowed. This was paired with a decision to add reasonable charges for use of the rivers along with invitation for bids to start a procedure that is transparent. Tourism should always be promoted; however, the same should come with proper regulation.
Lok Pal Singh and Rajiv Sharma from Division Bench of Justices stated that it is surprising to know that camping near river beds is being permitted by the government. It adds to the pollution level while destroying the ecology of nature in the area. To add to this, the launching points for these activities are essentially choked up with traffic. This requires the government to refrain the use of vehicles all the way to the water front.
This particular order came into effect after a local resident from Rishikesh named Hari Om Kashyap revealed that the private entrepreneurs were creating temporary structures near the river bank while breaking the norms set for water sports in the area. This has led to the deterioration of River Ganga’s Sanctity with sewage being directed directly into the river. As per paragliding is concerned, it is also dangerous when paired with zero regulations.
Currently there is no proper guidelines, yardstick, and efficient parameters in place to regulate the activities taking place in the state which includes rafting/boating, paragliding, and similar water sports that can essentially cause loss of life or similar disasters when not practiced under controlled laws.