State urged not to mix up adventure sports, tourism

Mountaineers and trekkers on Thursday argued that the implementation of government notification on adventure activities will only lead to the catastrophic damage of adventure sports in Maharashtra and will be the gravest humiliation to those who spent their entire life for promotion and prosperity of adventure sports in Maharashtra.

Trekkers under the aegis of Akhil Maharashtra Giryarohan Mahasangh (apex body for mountaineering) also insisted that the government should not mix up the adventure sports and adventure tourism as the participants in these segments are totally different.

In a representation to state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, the Mahasangh has appealed to the government to remove the annexure of adventure tourism from the notification and transfer it to the tourism department. By doing so, both adventure sports and adventure tourism will remain separate sectors with separate governing bodies which will help in their growth.

Mahasangh president Umesh Zirpe told Free Press Journal, ‘’The existence of adventure sports such as mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, water and air-based sports will become questionable in future as per the government notification issued in September. However, from the perspective of the Department of Sports, they all are officially considered as sports.” He added that the adventure sports are officially recognised sports at national as well as state levels and hence their administration must fall under the purview of Department of Sports only.’

He said the Maharashtra Mountaineers Rescue Coordination Centre is a 24X7 helpline formulated for providing speedy and safe rescue services in remote regions of Sahyadri. Those who perform such challenging tasks are none but well trained and experienced mountaineers. They cannot be considered as tourists.

Everester Bhushan Harshe said adventure sports indeed play an instrumental role in developing a healthy and confident society. On the other hand, the adventure tour operator companies have their constitution and objectives solely for commercial purposes and registration is either individual, or in partnership or as a private limited company.

“However, the constitution and objectives of the clubs/institutions/organisations which work for promotion and training of adventure sports, are meant for the benefit and growth of that sport only. Additionally their registration is under charitable trust or voluntary organization or non-profit making organization,’’ he noted.

The Mahasangh committee member Chandan Chavan said that if the adventure sports are brought under the domain of tourism department, the growth of adventure sports in Maharashtra will definitely decline exponentially.

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