Kullu: Many fatal mishaps but no stringent action during paragliding : The Tribune India

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Kullu: Many fatal mishaps but no stringent action during paragliding

Paragliding accident non-cognisable offence: Expert

Kullu: Many fatal mishaps but no stringent action during paragliding

The Kullu District Tourism Development Officer said there was no provision to check whether the pilot is under influence of substance.



Abhinav Vashisht

KULLU, FEBRUARY 12

Even while many fatal accidents have taken place in Kullu during paragliding, most of the time the pilots and the operators have escaped almost scot free. A legal expert said such an accident is a non-cognisable offence and it is very tough to prove negligence on the part of the operator or the pilot. He said that the pilot is not arrested in such cases and even if he is arrested, he can seek bail immediately from the police. He said that long-term imprisonment and hefty fines are rare in such cases.

The expert said the pilot can be arrested if he is found under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He advised that the Tourism Department should check every pilot with a breath analyzer before every flight and blood test should be done after landing.

Kullu District Tourism Development Officer (DTDO) Sunayna Sharma said there was no provision to check whether the pilot is under intoxication. She said that medical is sought from the pilots during the renewal of licences annually.

The DTDO said that in cases of accidents, the licences of the pilot and operator are suspended immediately and if negligence is found on the part of the pilot or the operator, then their licences are cancelled barring them from carrying out flying operations in future. She said that fines are also imposed on the violators of rules.

She said that over 300 summons had been issued for violation in paragliding since May 2022 and most of these had been compounded. She said that during her tenure here, no cases had come to the fore of flying without licence. She added that there had been no major violations after the implementation of self-regulatory mechanism by the operators.

The technical committee of the Tourism Department carries out periodic inspections of the fitness of equipment and pilots to ensure the safety of the enthusiasts undertaking adventure activities. The licenses of pilots and operators are renewed annually.

In 2022, the High Court had intervened after taking cognizance to prevent accidents happening due to adventure activities. After this, a district level committee headed by Kullu District Legal Services Authority Secretary had banned paragliding activity from February 2, 2022 to April 6, 2022 after certain observations.

With the limited manpower and resources, it is not possible for the tourism department to maintain thorough vigil at various adventure sports sites. Therefore, sometimes a few of the operators give a goby to the norms including, carrying out the activity hastily during the rush of revellers, non-adherence to the restricted hours and also sometimes not hesitating to use depleted or over-beaten equipment, endangering the lives of the thrill seekers.

#Kullu #Paragliding


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