Tragic death of 12yrs old paragliding enthusiast, HC take suo moto cognizance

Court for remedial measures for in adventure sports activities

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source internet
Shimla, Jan 22
Himachal Pradesh High Court on its own motion took suo moto cognizance of the death of 12 yrs old boy Advik, who died at a Paragliding Site in Himachal Pradesh. Converting the matter into a Public Interest Litigation Division bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Satyen Vaidya said that a media house highlighted the incident recently expressing grief over unfortunate death of 12 year old boy who had come to visit the state from Bangaluru along with his parents and younger sister.
Court in a 14- paged order passed on Jan 17 said that State has always been a much sought after tourist destination and its importance has grown manifold during the Covid-19 pandemic.
” Could the State really afford to turn a nelson’s eye to the repeated mishaps without taking any remedial steps in  this regard, particularly in the  field of adventure sports, like Rappelling, River Crossing, Skiing,  Trekking, Rock Climbing, Hot Air Balooning, Zorbing, Balls, Rolling Balls, Water Balls, Bungee jumping and Zipline/Flying Fox, Joy Rides/Fun Parks, River Rafting, Para- gliding,Air Rafting, Aero Sports activities etc.
Court taking consideration of recent mishaps, in other adventure sports, boating and motor and allied adventurous activities, expanded scope of this petition by including the aforesaid activities also.
Court mentioned that rules for regulating adventure and allied adventure sports were framed and in majority of the provisions technical aspects of the matter left to the Director, Atal Bihari  Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, (HP). Under rules Regulatory Committees consists of the DCs as the Chairman(s) and SPs, SDMs, Commandant Home Guard, CMOs, concerned District XEN(,HPPWD), Deputy Director, Tourism and Civil Aviation, District Tourism Development Officer to be the Secretary of such committees.
Court impleded the DGP of H.P.  Director, ABVIM&AS Manali.  Director, Tourism & Civil Aviation, H.P. and other officers including  Secretary, HPPWD to the Govt of Himachal Pradesh and others\party in the PIL  .
Court said that despite having regulatory committees, the number of mishaps and accidents in these adventure sports and allied activities have not decreased. The most evident reason for the same appears to be the lack of overall monitoring of the adventurous activities by those at the helm of affairs.
Court said that the service providers ,i.e. the operators, guides, instructors etc have failed to
adhere to basic safety measures in providing safety to their clients, who are total strangers to adventure sports.
It could so happen that the majority of  these persons are trying adventure for the first time,
therefore, it is incumbent upon the operators to provide properly trained and qualified instructors
and guides in the sports.
In majority of the cases, the instructors and trainers may be adhering to the basic guidelines and Rules, but many guides/instructors still feel that rules does not apply to them, because they are far too experienced. There really appears to be no check or any periodic inspection of the staff, equipment, instruments etc. of these operators.
Going by experience, it is noticed that even helmets, harnesses, hooks, which are extensively used in the adventurous activities are not at all inspected, what to talk of these being periodically inspected. In many of the cases, even the license, qualifications etc. of the operators probably are not even looked into, let alone being verified. Therefore, it is high time that such practices must be dis-continued and stopped forthwith.
Court constituted a team under the chairmanship of the concerned Secretary, District Legal Service Authority and the following shall be the other members of the team Director, ABVIM & ASs, Manali, SDMs, DY.SPs.
XEN HPPWD, President, Water Sports Association as Member; in case of water sports deputy Director Tourism and Civil Aviation. The committee shall personally and physically verify the following documents Registration and license of the
operators and period of validity thereof. Also details of all Guides and Instructors including copies of certifications and record of their experience, copies of all Permits and Permissions for the proposed adventure sports registration,
Copies of IDs, Insurance cover for all participants, guides and instructors, copy of SOP, emergency Action Plan for the particular adventure sport to include arrangements for emergency lift and evacuation of clients in case of mishap
Specialisation of activities or activity of the operator..
The details of the adventure equipments as well as specialised trained staff in First Aid/Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation along with certificates evincing that they have successfully completed basic course in first aid from Government Hospital
or any Recognized institution or certificate course conducted by the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India, who is otherwise Competent to impart first aid training in the use of stretchers.\
Court put the responsibility of the Director, H.P. Tourism and Civil Aviation Department and the concerned District Tourism Development Officer to provide all logistic support, copy of the rules/regulations, all other relevant records including applications submitted by the operators and also furnish details of those sites and operators where no permission or limited permission has been granted, yet adventure sports activities are being carried out.
Court directed PRO of HC directed to contact News 18 channel and request the channel to provide complete particulars of the father of Advik i.e. Sh. Rishabh Tripathi and if possible, get his e- mail, whatsapp number so that he may be informed not only about the registration of the case, but also invite his inputs and suggestions, for which
separate link to fair proceedings on virtual platform be provided to him on the next date of hearing.
Court listed the matter on Feb 21, 2022. copy of order has been sent to Member Secretary,
Himachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority for compliance, who, in turn, shall circulate copy
of this order to all the Secretaries, District Legal Services Authority, for compliance.
It is worthwhile to mention that this mishap occurred on December 22, 2021, when family of
deceased along with another family reached ( socalled) site of paragliding.  However, they were
informed that the take off point was about 10-15 kms away and only could be reached by jeep.
Since Advik’s sister was found to be too young that is less than 12 years for the adventure, therefore,
she stayed back however  Advik along with his parents and the other family decided to go to the site.
They were made to sign a waiver that stated that the agency was not responsible for any paragliding mishap, but nothing was mentioned about the journey to the take-off point.
The jeep, comprised two rows of seats under the roof and another two in the open back and is alleged to be bereft of safety accessories.
As against the seating capacity of five passengers, nine passengers occupied the roofless back portion of the jeep. The driver and four paragliding pilots who were picked up on the way, sat at
the front in the enclosed space.
A sudden collision with a two wheeler made the driver lose control of the vehicle,  as a result whereof, the jeep  tumbled over into a 15 feet gorge. While everyone received grievous injuries, Advik’s head hit a rock, as a result whereof he died.
The father of the deceased raises his concern regarding the safety not only at the adventurous spot, i.e. para-gliding,but with respect to the responsibilities of the person or persons from the journey point to the take-off point,court said in the
order.

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