To promote adventure and water sports, the Uttarakhand government will develop the British era Ganga canal stretch in Roorkee as a hub of water sports in the Himalayan state.
Water sports activities such as river rafting and kayaking will be organised at the old Ganga canal which is adjacent to the new Ganga canal near the Dhanauri-Roorkee stretch.
According to the cabinet minister for irrigation, tourism, culture, Satpal Maharaj, the use of the old Ganga canal stretch which was once the main Ganga canal built by the British is apt since it is suitable for water sports activities.
“We need to promote adventure sports for which the state has vast potential. Adventure sports will provide a wide array of employment opportunities, revenue and infrastructure for these sports which can be utilized by our sportspersons. They can excel in these sports which also find a place in national and international sporting events,” Satpal Maharaj said.
As the operation and management of the Ganga canal is still in the purview of the Uttar Pradesh government due to non-resolution of handing over of the properties to Uttarakhand, since the hill state was carved out of the former in 2000, Maharaj said that permission in this regard has been sought from the UP government.
“We have written to the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department minister Mahendra Singh to permit the Uttarakhand government to use the old Ganga canal stretch for adventure sports. As and when permission is granted we will start work on fast track to develop the old Ganga canal for adventure sports purposes,” said Maharaj.
On illegal encroachments coming up on the closed Ganga canal, the cabinet minister said that he has directed the irrigation department officials to ensure the removal of all such encroachments.
Roorkee already has kayaking and canoeing options but with the development of the old Ganga canal, it would be easier to build infrastructural facilities according to international standards.
Welcoming the state government’s initiative, assistant professor Dr Ajay Malik from Gurukul Kangri University’s physical education department said that rafting related aqua sports have become a major medal clincher in the Olympics, Asiad and other global sporting events. “So this initiative bodes well for the Himalayan state. Besides, it is good that the state government is exploring these non-conventional sports also.”