Government’s appeal to restart camping in Rishikesh (17th February, 2016) : The camping on river banks of Ganga has been banned by National Green Tribunal (NGT), which has put many associated companies out of business. In this direction, the government of Uttarakhand will submit a report prepared by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to NGT on Wednesday (17th February, 2016) and plead its case to lift the ban on camping. The ban was imposed by NGT in December, 2015 along the 36 – km stretch from Kauydiyala to Rishikesh. The ban was imposed after a NOIDA based NGO filed the case citing the environmental hazards due to the unregulated and reckless camping activities along the beaches. The tribunal banned camping but allowed rafting.
This has led to the blow to the tourism economy based on camping and rafting. The camp organizers have since then been lobbying hard to restart the camping activity on the beach along the Ganga river. Subsequently, the WII was indulged to prepare the report on camping and submit the same.
As per internal sources, WII has given report on ‘critical’ and ‘safe’ stretch camping. It is estimated that more than 48 beach camping sites have been mapped. The report is said to have 20 – odd beaches fit for camping. According to the Indian Association of Professional Rafting Outfitters and Camping (IAPROC), some 5000 – odd people are directly involved in the business of camping and rafting. These people include workers, cooks, drivers etc. There are around 136 rafting operators and 157 camping sites registered with government agencies.
The permission for rafting is given by tourism department whereas the camping permission is given by forest department.
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