Rafting resumes in Kullu, actors optimistic: La Tribune India
Kullu, June 22
Those involved in adventure tourism breathed a sigh of relief as activities resumed in Kullu after about 18 months. Rafting hot spots at Raison, Babeli, Bashing, Pirdi, Bhuntar and Bajaura have started to see enthusiasts again.
During peak season, approximately 550 rafts operate in these locations. So far, only around 300 rafts are in use, but stakeholders hope their business will improve in the coming days as tourist traffic increases.
About 5,000 people are directly or indirectly linked to adventure tourism. These activities provide income for raft operators, paraglider pilots, guides, assistants, taxi operators, jeep operators, restaurants, tea stalls and street vendors.
Paragliding also started at Solang Nullah, Marhi and Dobhi. Rafting and paragliding are practiced in Kullu all year round, with the exception of two months during the rainy season from July 15 to September 15.
Shyam Attri, president of the Kullu River Rafting Association, said there had been no activity for the past 18 months. He said about 40% of the raft operators had resumed operations. He said business had not yet picked up due to the drop in tourist arrivals, but was expected to pick up as the influx of tourists started to pick up.
As many fatal accidents have occurred during adventure activities in the past, the government and the Ministry of Tourism have imposed strict standards for carrying out these activities. The Tourism Service issues licenses to guides practicing rafting and paragliding pilots. The department also performs periodic inspections of the fitness of guides and pilots, in addition to checking rafts, paragliders and other equipment to keep revelers safe.
Despite the day before, operators sometimes give the go-by to standards such as providing a rescue team and respecting restricted hours. Sometimes they don’t hesitate to use over-exploited equipment, endangering the lives of enthusiasts. Measures are taken against the operators in the event of an accident due to negligence.