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Kashmir Imposes Temporary Rafting Ban

Kashmir Imposes Temporary Rafting Ban
Lidder River flowing through Pahalgam Valley in Pahalgam , Kashmir , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The cautionary measure comes after a slew of accidents in Pahalgam

OT Staff
July 16 , 2019
01 Min Read

The Jammu and Kashmir government has prohibited rafting on rivers and other waterbodies until a new and improved safety mechanism can be implemented. The suspension order, issued by the state’s tourism department, comes in the wake of two rafting accidents in the Pahalgam area, where three people lost their lives on rafting expeditions. 

Thirty-two-year-old tourist guide Rouf Ahmad Dar was killed in early June while trying to save five tourists after their boat capsized in the Lidder River. While he managed to pull everyone to safety, Dar lost his life in the process. Two others were killed on June 18 during a rafting championship, also on the Lidder. The deceased were identified as Rinku Raja, a tourism department employee, and Sanja, a tourist from Jammu.

The deaths have been a wakeup call to the administration to plan more robust safety measures for adventure sports guides and enthusiasts. It should also serve as a lesson in responsibility to tourists, many of whom tend to ignore regulations and dangerously insist that guides take them white water rafting even after sunset. The accident that killed Rouf Ahmad Dar took place around 7pm. 

The Lidder is a glacial river that flows through the northeastern part of Pahalgam in Anantnag district, and is a well-known tourist location that’s surrounded by picturesque hills and the Betaab Valley. Other than white water rafting, tourists can also enjoy fishing and angling in its waters.

“In the interest of administration and safety of tourists, it is hereby ordered that all rafting related activities at all tourist destinations particularly at Pahalgam and Sonamarg shall remain suspended till a proper mechanism / technical guidance is put in place at all such locations. Concerned officers shall ensure implementation of the order in letter and spirit and report compliance,” read the suspension order.

 

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