Assam: One died while paragliding in Tinsukia district
Assam: One died while paragliding in Tinsukia district

The death of a person in a paragliding accident at a privately owned resort in Guijan, within the Eco Sensitive Zone of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Tinsukia district, on Wednesday has prompted questions about the validity and safety standards for paragliding and other adventure sports. While several organisations called for the resort owners to be punished, the Tinsukia district government initiated a magisterial investigation. The incident occurred at Skyland Resort, which was set up on the northern bank of the River Dibru in Erasuti, a revenue hamlet and sand bed.

To celebrate Republic Day, a large crowd gathered at the resort, and Pankaj Gogoi of Naoboicha, Lakhimpur, took to paragliding. He fell off the glider after reaching a considerable height. His injuries were fatal, and he died while being taken to the AMCH in Dibrugarh. According to allegations, the resort was reportedly performing eco-sports activities without acquiring the Forest Department's NOC and other permits. However, it is unknown if the Skyland Resort was built before the January 30, 2020 Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) notice. Clause 3 (3)(e)(III) of the DSNP ESZ announcement stated that "until the Zonal Master Plan under the ESZ is authorised, among other factors, growth of current operations must be permitted by appropriate regulatory agencies." Except for tiny temporary buildings for eco-tourism activities as defined under Regulated Activities, new development of hotels and resorts is prohibited within 1 km of the national park's boundaries.

Prima facie evidence revealed extreme carelessness on the part of the operators, according to authorities, because a similar incident occurred last year, but it was not fatal. Second, it is asserted that necessary statements and consent assuming risk factors were not followed. The two resort owners have been charged at Tinsukia Sadar PS under section 287/304 of the Indian Penal Code. The authorities have begun a major manhunt to apprehend the fugitive resort proprietors. All paragliding equipment has been confiscated by the police. The Tinsukia Regional Students' Union (AASU) urged that the resort owner be held accountable and that the unlawful Skyland Resort be closed down with sufficient compensation for the bereaved family.

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