A day after the Tourism Department temporarily suspended rafting-related activities in Kashmir following the death of three persons during rafting expeditions at Pahalgam in south Kashmir, stakeholders Friday said the tragic and avoidable incidents have dented KashMany places such as Rishikesh in Uttarakhand are known for river rafting. Pahalgam was gradually emerging as a fast water sports destination, but all these efforts were in vain. The incidents (deaths) were completely avoidable had the authorities put in place proper life-saving mechanisms,” said Athar Yameen, General Secretary of the Travel Agents Society of Kashmir.
Amit Shah arrives in Kashmir for a 2-day visit. Continue strict action against miscreants, ensure smooth yatra: Home Minister to security forces. Amarnath Yatra 2019|Northern Army Commander reviews security arrangements. Had Patel become the first PM, Kashmir would have been resolved: Modi. Over the years, the Government has been keen on promoting adventure tourism to the extent that last year, photographs of different adventure sports made it to J&K Bank’s annual wall calendar. However, tourism stakeholders said the deaths, which occurred in less than two weeks due to rafts’ capsizing, had raised many questions. “Why were events of river rafting held without necessary precautionary measures? A thorough probe needs to be conducted, and the guilty must be brought to book,” said Yameen.
Tourism players said the lack of modern equipment and a less trained workforce were the reasons for the tragedy. “The Tourism Department, on the one hand, does a lot of lip service about promoting adventure sports but lacks men and machinery to promote it. We need proper equipment and a well-trained team of rescuers before we can claim to be world-renowned river rafting and skiing destinations,” said another adventure sports lover.
Mir image as a fast-growing adventure tourism destination. “All stakeholders must get serious about the safety of participants in adventurous sports,” said Rauf Tramboo, who heads the Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir. Director Tourism Nisar Ahmad Wani said the Department has roped in rafting experts to study the river at Pahalgam and Sonamarg. “The experts will submit a technical report about the nature of both rivers in one week, following which we will take a fresh call on the resumption of the activity (rafting),” said Wani.