The Uttarakhand High Court has banned white water river rafting, paragliding and other water sports in the state until a policy on the same is framed by the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led government. Observing that there is no law to regulate water sports, the court said they are being carried out illegally. A two-judge bench has given the state government two weeks to prepare a transparent draft policy.
The court, which was hearing a petition that stated that the government was issuing illegal licenses to private companies to conduct water sports, issued its order on June 18. It said that through the draft policy, the government should fix prices for water sports and invite tenders for conducting the sports.
“The State Government cannot be oblivious to its duties to regulate and restrict the unauthorized activities. The white river rafting is a serious sport. Paragliding is equally dangerous if not regulated. The water sports in big lakes like Tehri Dam can prove fatal. These are required to be regulated,” the court stated.
After seeing pictures of picnics inside the river and camping sites on the river bed, the judges said that the sanctity of the rivers was not being maintained. It said these activities were polluting the environment and ecology of the river and surrounding areas. “The tourism must be promoted but it is required to be regulated. The sports for pleasure cannot be permitted to end in disaster,” the court added.
The water sports will resume after the state government has drafted its policy on the same.