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Water sports banned in Uttarakhand till state government enacts suitable legislation

Water sports banned in Uttarakhand till state government enacts suitable legislation

Sounak Mullick

Published: 22 Jun 2018 7:26 AM GMT
In an attempt to safeguard both the environment and the athletes involved in the sports, the Uttarakhand High Court has banned paragliding, river rafting and other water sports until the administration enforces a policy regarding the matter. The decision has left many adventure tourists in despair. Social activist Hari Om Kashyap of Rishikesh filed public interest litigation (PIL) owing to the situation. In response, a division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh decided to enforce the ban in the Himalayan state. As per the reports of The Hindustan Times, the State Government was directed to enact suitable legislation for regulating adventure sports throughout the state. “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,” stated the order. Watersports companies have been increasing in the area, it is a favourite tourist spot and the industry has flourished. It is offering a variety of activities such as white water rafting, paragliding and ziplining. White water rafting has provided employment to 5000-7000 with a business of Rs. 75-80 crores annually. Regarding the contamination of the Ganga, the order stated, “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 petitioner also admitted that the state authorities were giving illegal leases in favour of private companies to organise water sports on the holy ‘Ganga.’ Temporary structures are also being permitted to be set up on the banks illegally and the raw sewage was directly flowing to the river. “Shocked to know that the state government is permitting camping sites on the river beds. Pollutes the environment and ecology of the river and the surrounding areas,” the HC said.
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