The high court of Uttarakhand has disallowed paragliding, white water rafting, and other water sports, till time then the administration put in place a policy to regulate them in a move aimed at preserving both the environment and people engaging in these activities.
Water rafting in Uttarakhand has a yearly value of around Rs. 75-80 crore. It employs 5,000 – 7,000 people including guides, cooks, instructors, and drivers.
“The State government is directed to prepare the transparent policy within a period of two weeks. Till the policy is framed, no white river rafting, paragliding, and other water sports shall be permitted in the state of Uttarakhand,” the order said. The court’s decision comes as a jolt to adventure tourism and water sports in the Himalayan state.
As from the reports of past times, adventure sports companies have shirked down in the state, a popular destination for tourists from around the country, offering everything from white water rafting to paragliding to zip lining with no regulatory oversight.
Kiran Todaria, president of the Indian Association of Professional Rafting Outfitters (IAPRO), says that around 300 rafting operators are active along a 36-km stretch of the Ganga. she said, “It’s an industry that provides indirect jobs to no less than 10,000 families,”
The order presented, “We have also gone through the photographs. We can see people organizing picnics inside the river water. They can be seen drinking in the river water. The sanctity of the river Ganga is not maintained by the respondent-state by permitting the lease of river beds”.
The HC also reported that raw sewage was being permitted to directly flow into the river. The state government has now till date not enacted any law to regulate white river rafting, paragliding or water sports.