Wake up call – River Rafting in Pahalgam turns a sour experience

With the authorities squabbling on permits and ecology, etc., the most important aspect of River Rafting in Lidder in Pahalgam – SAFETY has kind of taken a back seat. And it came out glaringly yesterday when a group of tourists could not maintain control of their raft, and while many got injured, one of the rourists actually succumbed to her injuries (see the detailed news item below).
A very expensive lesson learnt? Well, if its even a lesson learnt. Hopefully PDA/Tourism Department would streamline how they select travel agencies and more importantly their personnel. Even more important is designation of certain streches of river from Type 1 to 6 depending upon the difficulty level. Tourists can then cautiously choose where they want to raft, as well as sign on a non-liability paper (which is a norm through out the world).
This incident is a setback, but hopefully it will not reverse the trend and people will continue to enthusiastically enjoy the thrill of rafting in Pahalgam waters. And hats off to the local good samaritans who saved seven of the group in this incident.

Noteworthy is that this is the first casualty since the rafting was introduced in Lidder during the past three years.

Hyderabad tourist drowns while rafting in Kashmir
May 29 Merinews – A woman tourist from Hyderabad lost her life as she, along with her mates, lost control while rafting in a Kashmir river. The seven other injured are being treated at the district hospital, Anantnag.
RECREATION TURNED sour for a bunch of tourists as one of them drowned while rafting in the Lidder River near village Yanner, Pahalgam in Kashmir. The deceased, identified as Sharda, wife of a Nivasan from Hyderabad, lost her life as she could not be rescued. The tourists were from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
The tourist were rafting in the river this morning (May 29) when they met with the mishap. Lidder is a swift-flowing river, ideal for rafting.
Battling desperately for their lives, the revellers were severely injured after the boat struck some boulders in the gushing river. Some local people who happened to see them, rescued the trapped tourists and shifted them to a nearby hospital with the assistance of the police.
Out of the group of eight, a woman, identified as Sharda, wife of Nivasan from Hyderabad, however, succumbed to her injuries at the district hospital, Anantnag. The other injured are being treated at the hospital.