After a ban on white water rafting in Rishikesh, the travel industry in Uttarakhand has experienced another significant drawback after the recent order of Uttarakhand High Court. The court has now prohibited overnight camping in ‘bugyals‘ or high meadows.
The Uttarakhand High Court recently put a ban on night stay in high meadows in the state. It also passed a mandate limiting the quantity of travellers going to there. With this move, adventure tourism in this area is likely to observe an important blow, eventually leading to lakhs of individuals, who were involved in mountaineering expeditions and treks to lose jobs.
On Aug 21, the Uttarakhand High Court requested the municipality to remove all permanent preparations from the downhill and sub-alpine grasslands and meadows within three months, such as Aali-Bedini-Bagzi Bugyals (grasslands) in the state.
A bench of justice, such as Rajiv Sharma and Lokpal Singh, also put a limit on the number of visitors visiting the high meadows. As per the latest news reports, the number approved on the number of tourists to be permitted as of now is 200. Also, the order banned commercial grazing of cattle on all kinds of downhill meadows. However, only local shepherds will be permitted to graze their cattle, but in a reasonable variety.
The order also instructed all district magistrates in the state to ensure removal of plastic water bottles, containers and other garbage materials from the meadows within six weeks.
Garhwal Himalayan Trekking and Mountaineering Association president Jayendra Singh Rana, indicated expressed concern this move. He said that there are trekking locations in the area that cannot be achieved without staying en route. He also expressed concern as to what will happen to cooks, mule providers, assistants, porters, who used to go along with the trekkers in their expedition to the top meadows and grasslands.
He further said that this action will impact the income of village people, who were involved in such trips in one way or the other.
Uttarakhand is home to some of the most popular trekking and adventure sports regions in India. The Roopkund Travel in the state is among the highest-altitude treks in the country. Apart from that, places like Auli are internationally recognized and annual skiing competitions are organized here. Removal of all establishments from these areas would mean a loss of hundreds of crore worth investment.