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Climate hits rapid action

india Updated: Jul 18, 2009 00:41 IST
Indraneel Das

The mighty Sindh has lost its foamy turbulence. The alarmingly low water level has led to the second edition of the marquee Kashmir Cup being put off.

Scheduled from July 12-19, the international white water rafting event, which was to be held in Jammu and Kashmir's Sonamarg district, has been deferred to August 6-8. Competitors will now arrive for acclimatisation and training on August 2.

According to experts, the reasons for the river, a major tributary of the mighty Indus, losing its ferocity are less snowfall during winter, late snowfall in February-March and a delayed monsoon.

“This is not good news for white water rafters,” said Shaukat Sikand, race director of the Kashmir Cup. “This is the first time that such a phenomenon has forced us to postpone an event,” said Mansoor Bhatt, vice-president, J&K White Water Rafting Association. “Till date, no records suggest that the river has flowed below the stipulated level (Grade III) during summer,” he said.

“This time because of less rainfall, the rapids, which are usually Grade IV and Grade V, did not form,” said Sikand, the secretary of the Indian Rafting Foundation.

Late snowfall has also hindered formation of good rapids. “Because of this, snow caps on top of the glaciers are yet to melt,” said Sikand. “Also, less snowfall caused the glaciers — Thajiwas is the main glacier — that feed the river to recede. If that wasn’t enough, the late rains added to the problem.”

But relief is at hand as water levels are gradually reaching the Grade III mark, necessary to conduct an international event. “We called a team of experts and by the looks of it, will have the Grade IV mark by early August,” Bhatt said.

Hosted by the Department of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir, the event will see competitors from Brazil, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Slovakia and Canada take on 10 Indian teams.

“It's going to be a big event and since we are hosting the World Cup in 2010, we don't want to put up a shoddy show,” Sikand said.