Uttarakhand News

Rafting banned in Uttarakhand until administration adopts a policy: High Court

Uttarakhand high court has banned paragliding and white water rafting and other water sport activities throughout the hill state, until the administration puts in place a policy to regulate the activities on the rivers which would safeguard the environment and people employed in these adventure sports activities. A division bench of justices Rajiv Verma and Lok Pal Singh ordered the ban in response to the PIL filed by a Rishikesh-based social activist Hari Om Kashyap.

The high court decision has come as a shock to the adventure tourism and water sports in the Himalaya state. Court has directed state government to formulate a transparent policy within a period of 2 weeks on urgent basis. Until the policy is framed, the rafting and other water sports will remained banned in the hill state.

The adventure tourism in Uttarakhand gained ground in the past decade with a scores of adventure sports companies mushrooming in the state and offering everything – from rafting to kayaking to zip-lining with no regulatory oversight. More than 300 rafting operators are active on the 36-km stretch of Ganga.

The petitioner in his PIL said that state authorities were giving illegal leases in favor of private agencies to organize water sports in the Ganga. Temporary structures have also been allowed to be set up on the banks of the river. The court believes paragliding and water sports are serious sports which could become dangerous if not regulated properly.

Inputs from Hindustan Times