With the Ganga and its tributaries in spate following heavy pre-monsoon rains in parts of Uttarakhand, rafting in the river has been stopped 12 days ahead of schedule for safety reasons.
Heavy showers in the hills of Uttarakhand over the past few days and the melting glaciers due to increasing heat have shot up the water level in the Ganga rendering rafting in the river at Rishikesh unsafe, state Tourism Development Council sources said here on Friday.
The rains over the past couple of days have brought a lot of silt and boulders into the river which might be risky for rafters, they said.
A notice ordering closure of rafting in the river was issued by the council on Thursday, they said.
Usually, rafting is stopped in the Ganga every year from June 30 to September one. Its closure this year 12 days in advance will make adventure tourists to wait till September to enjoy the sport.
Unaware of the Tourism Development Council notice, several rafts were lowered into the river on Thursday for tourists but forest department personnel intervened immediately to have them withdrawn.
With the TDC notice ordering closure of rafting in the Ganga this season, about a 100-odd beach camps put up at Kaudiyawala-Munikireti area in Rishikesh are being wound up now.
However, people associated with the trade said they had a satisfying rafting season this year after it was marred last year by the natural calamity.
“After a low-key initial opening we had a brisk rafting season this year which picked up in the month of May and June. A large number of tourists enjoyed rafting and camping along the banks of the Ganga this year,” a raft operator said.
However, he said the administration had taken the right decision by stopping it 12 days ahead of schedule for safety reasons.
The Ganga at Rishikesh was flowing at 338.1 metres on Thursday while the danger mark is at 340. 5 metres, Central Water Commission’s Rishikesh sector incharge Vinod Pal said.
However, the water level has receded marginally on Friday morning with the river flowing at 337.68 metres, he said.