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Ensuring Safety


Uttarakhand wishes to become a ‘destination’ of all kinds – pilgrimage, tourism, wedding, wildlife viewing, adventure activities, etc. – but going by the conditions on the ground, is not doing much to facilitate such activity. It is not enough to provide opportunity to the private sector to set up hotels, restaurants, etc.; the basic services such activities require from government have also to be provided – if this is not done, in the long run and in an increasingly competitive environment, the lack of preparedness can backfire badly.

Traditionally, Uttarakhand has been a peaceful place with a good law and order situation. The host community has also been sophisticated in its approach – almost as good as in J&K and Himachal Pradesh. The education levels have been high making interaction with visitors quite smooth. However, all of this has been going downhill in recent years, at a time when the quality of hospitality should actually be scaled up quite exponentially.

The state has become a soft target, even safe haven for criminals from as far away as Bihar and beyond. There is resort to violence quite easily, instead of being an exemplary law-abiding society. It is obvious that the police and other authorities are unable to plan and respond effectively to the new challenges.

More than that, security of others kinds is not being provided. Not a day passes without fatal accidents on the roads. Are those in charge aware of the factors that are causing the problem? Should not there be some way of ensuring drivers trained to drive on hill roads should be behind the wheels, be they from outside the state or local ones? Similarly, reports of picnickers drowning in the state’s rivers, canals and lakes are pretty common. Should families dread sending youngsters to the state for outdoor experiences because even the basic safety arrangements are not provided? Should not visitors to the state be given safety instructions and appropriate guidance at every stage of their activity? In the present day, there are many kinds of safety equipment available that young people without experience of bathing or swimming in rivers can have in case there is an emergency. Local people in the vicinity of their activities should warn them of the dangers and what action to take if there is a problem.

What this means is that every resident of the state should be trained to be a caring host, taking that extra step to make Uttarakhand a safe and delightful destination. Nothing short of that will be enough.