Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Himachal bans paragliding after CWG advisory

The Himachal Pradesh government has temporarily banned aero-sports activities in the state with officials saying the ban has been imposed following a civil aviation ministry advisory during the Commonwealth Games.

Shimla, Oct 4 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government has temporarily banned aero-sports activities in the state with officials saying the ban has been imposed following a civil aviation ministry advisory during the Commonwealth Games.

The ministry has imposed restrictions on flights of micro-light aeroplanes and hang-gliders within an aerial distance of 300 km from New Delhi, Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Gandhi told IANS.

However, the paragliders say the ban is unjust as the ministry's directive does not cover Bir-Billing range, about 380 km from New Delhi, where aero-sports activities are conducted.

'The ban on aero-sports activities has been imposed in Bir-Billing as a precautionary measure. It will remain in force till Oct 20,' the senior police official said.

The ban is likely to affect the preparations for the Himalayan Open Paragliding Championship, scheduled to be held at the range Oct 27-30.

Vice-president of the Billing Paragliding Association Suresh Thakur said the ban was imposed without giving any notice in advance.

'All of a sudden, the ban was imposed. Already a large number of paragliders from India and abroad have reached here to practise for the championship. Moreover, it's not right to impose the ban in Billing as it does not fall within the aerial radius as mentioned in the advisory.'

He said Billing is 390 km from Delhi while the ban refers to a 300-km radius from Delhi. 'Moreover, the Games will be over by Oct 14 and there is no justification in imposing the ban till Oct 20,' he added.

Currently, 15 paragliders from Britain and 10 from different countries, including Russia, Germany and Sweden, and 15 from India are camping in Billing to practise before the annual paragliding event.

Sheltered by mountains and surrounded by rolling tea gardens, Bir-Billing, situated at a height of 2,290 metres, is considered one of the finest aero sports sites in the world.

Its name has been included in international paragliding circuits.