The Uttarakhand High Court (HC) has banned water sports, white water rafting and paragliding in the state until a policy is formulated to regulate the activities citing safety and environmental concerns, reported Hindustan Times (HT).
The order that was passed on Monday and was made public on Thursday asked the state government to come up with transparent policies within two weeks.
The order was reportedly passed in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Rishikesh-based social activist Hari Om Kashyap in which the court directed the state government to enact suitable legislation for regulating adventure and water sports throughout Uttarakhand.
“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 read, as quoted by HT
“We have also gone through the photographs. We can see people organising 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 order further read.
According to HT, the court was “shocked” to know that the state government is permitting camping sites on the river beds citing pollution of environment and destruction of ecology of the river beds.
Kiran Todaria, president of the Indian Association of Professional Rafting Outfitters (IAPRO), told HT that at least 300 rafting operators are active along a 36-km stretch of the Ganga.
“It’s an industry that provides indirect jobs to no less than 10,000 families,” she said.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)