Srinagar: In order to ensure safety of tourists and locals, the Government on Tuesday made life saving jackets mandatory for Shikara boats in Dal and Nigeen lakes and other water bodies.
According to an order, any Shikara boat registered under the J&K Tourist Trade Act, 1978, must have a minimum of three recommended quality and specification life-saving jackets available on the boat at all times.
Failure to comply with this directive may result in the cancellation of the Shikara’s registration.
“In order to ensure the safety of tourists taking shikara rides in Dal and Nigeen lakes and other water bodies and to prevent any untoward incident in view of inclement weather conditions or any other reasons, it is hereby ordered that as provided in the J&K Tourism Policy guidelines, each Shikara boat registered under J&K Tourist Trade Act, 1978 shall maintain the availability of a minimum of three life-saving Jackets of recommended quality and specifications in the boat, at all times, “ an official order reads.
Vice chairperson Lake Conservation and Management Authority (LCMA), Bashir Ahmad Bhat told Greater Kashmir that life-saving jackets are important to ensure the safety of Shikarawallas and tourists.
"In order to prevent further incidents, the government has decided to provide life saving jackets as a precautionary measure in the water bodies," he said.
The order comes just a day after 21 tourists enjoying Shikara rides in Dal Lake were stranded due to heavy rains and gusty winds. However, the river wing of Srinagar police moved swiftly and rescued the tourists.
Due to the inclement weather, the tourists often face trouble inside the Dal Lake and are found with no safety gear.
The authorities had issued a public advisory and urged visitors “to exercise caution and refrain from venturing into the lake during inclement weather conditions”.