There’s no better way to experience the sheer energy of the Ganga as you are tossed around the rapids with the ice-cold water hitting you hard in the face, sending you into raptures of an adrenaline high. And then to sleep under the stars on the white sandy beaches as the waters of the Ganga gush past, bringing an end to the adventure-filled day while a boom in campsites, and fly-by-night this is what rafting is all about.
Uttarakhand state in India is well known for its mountainous ecosystems, traditional communities and a variety of ecotourism destinations. Among various tourism activities, River Rafting along the banks of the Ganges River has increased tremendously for two decades. But as per the researchers rafting unprecedented impacts is happening on the traditional communities and the bio-diversity. The questionnaire contains issues on culture, social, economic, institutional and associated perceived impacts on pollution and biodiversity including views for sustainability. But the ranking analysis as per collected data reveals that economy and education of local community was improved significantly.
Recently River rafting and camping along the Ganga in Uttarakhand is leaving behind a trail of negative socio-cultural impacts. Now National Green Tribunal is acting against the river rafting as the present state of the holy river Ganges has been a subject of great concern within public discourse over the past few months. It is stated that it might be difficult to save the river and it is a very urgent need for implementing measures to prevent discharge of sewage and industrial effluents into the river. In the backdrop of the issue is the natural lure of River Ganga, which offers uncommon environmental diversity, captivating scenery and a remarkable adventure and wilderness experience. This encourages tourism on the bank of the river that involves camping, white-water rafting and kayaking.
However, a majority of the villagers are in favour of such activities because they draw direct and indirect economic benefit from the rafting tourism. If River Rafting will not get permission for the further session it might happen the worker section of Uttarakhand will face major economic imbalance because many workers get their day to day need fulfilled because of tourist which attract to River Ganga.
Kiran Bhatt Todaria President of Indian Association of Professional Rafting Outfitters speak about the rafting scenario in Uttarakhand ,he said ,”On behalf of the entire community of camping operators, I am taking the liberty of strongly reiterating that the beach camps should be started immediately on previous allotment system – a reassurance given by Govt, so that we do not lose any time for balance of this season. If not, the situation may spiral out of control as the ramifications of this decision could be interpreted by the employees of camp operators as callous disregard by their employers and the administration, whom they may hold as the first party responsible for the loss of their livelihoods. In short, it could become a political issue for the constituency. The management plan, environmental audits and carrying capacity can be done simultaneously and fully implemented at the start of the next season. Simultaneously we would emphasize that no effort would be spared by our Association and senior members to work in co-operation with Govt on the issues mentioned here in the larger interest of the State and it’s unique developmental limitations.”
Tourism Minister Dinesh Dhanai said, “Rafting camps have been closed, and this is certainly affecting not only tourism even Uttrakhand economy also.It couldn’t sort out till now because of the major difference between central government and Uttarakhand government .the minister added further that Uttrakhand government is taking an initiative to open the barriers but the central government is not keen to work out on this .”
EX Director Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Pankaj Bhatt said, “We don’t have many options for employment here in Uttarakhand and rafting is one of the biggest earning sources for local people. but it has been closed and now Uttarakhand government is not taking any initiative to open these camps again. obviously, youth has lost their earning source so we will support them.And if Uttrakhand government will not be taking this forward then definitely we will come out along with our men for a big strike. Administration can react like deaf and dumb but I am always there to support youth.
Well, it is quite shocking that Where India’s most adventurous and exciting sport is going to vanish just because on the basis of environmental social culture where Government have to take the measures to protect the environment.But the Uttrakhand is neglecting their part by blaming the tourism factor, due to their negligence and not allowing the rafting process in river Ganga they are taking away the employment of the local people who depends on them for their livelihood.