A video and some photos went viral on social media on May 14, of tourists from Haryana drinking alcohol in their car which was parked a short distance away from the bank of Ganga in Rishikesh. A few people noticed the tourists and reported it to the police.
Five tourists from Haryana were arrested on June 5, on charges of drinking alcohol on the Triveni Ghat of the Ganga in Rishikesh.
Youthful visitors, for the most part from the National Capital Region, Haryana, and Punjab, visit Rishikesh for rafting. In 2014, Rishikesh-based social extremist Hari Om Kashyap recorded a request of under the watchful eye of the Uttarakhand high court, underlining that boating in Ganga waters is done with no law. A division bench of the court, in its request on Thursday, said holiness of the stream is endangered as individuals are seen (in photographs) drinking liquor on the riverside and celebrating.
The court had decided to ban rafting as well as paragliding until a policy is framed to regulate water sports. This has shaken the adventure sports industry. Rafting has become a very successful industry in Rishikesh. In spite of the fact that no official figures are accessible, harsh assessments recommend that 2 to 3 lakh individuals come each year during rafting season; boating is ceased between July and September. The wilderness boating industry is pegged at Rs 75-80 crore every year.
Rafting along with beach camping are two popular parts of adventure sports. Earlier in 2005, beach camping in Rishikesh was banned by The National Green Tribunal (NGT). Though it was later revoked in 2017, the forest department does not allow beach camping sites.
It has been insinuated that in a race for profit, security of rafters is frequently traded off. In January this year, a visitor from Delhi suffocated in the Ganga while boating. In May, a year ago, a Delhi traveller passed died while rafting.
In response to the decision made by the high court, environmentalists have expressed joy over the fact that there are actions being taken by the government to ensure the Ganga is not contaminated further.
Meanwhile, the court has also banned paragliding, another adventure sport. Unlike Himachal Pradesh where paragliding is far-reaching, the sport is held in Nainital, Uttarakhand. Nine administrators take into account almost 300-500 visitors for every day in Nainital. Paragliding has been going on since 1992. This year a vacationer, Raj (known by his first name), from Delhi sustained injuries while paragliding in Naukhuchiyatal (Nainital).