In a recent incident on the bank of the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad, a young woman had a harrowing experience while kayaking. The incident occurred on a Saturday, where her kayak overturned, putting her at risk. Fortunately, she was rescued by vigilant bystanders who had also saved her from a similar situation two months back.
The cause of these incidents has raised eyebrows, as it appears that the boat design may be contributing to the chances of overturning. Last April, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd. introduced kayaking boating, which now requires citizens to fill out a form before engaging in the activity. The form includes acknowledging five signs of risk, indicating that kayaking involves inherent dangers, and the contractor holds no responsibility in case of any mishaps.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has awarded contracts for various amusement parks in the city, including Kankaria, where citizens can enjoy a variety of activities, including amusement parks and kayaking along the Sabarmati Riverfront.
The kayaking boat service on the Sabarmati Riverfront was inaugurated by the mayor and other dignitaries on March 31, 2022. The service is provided by ‘Ahmedabad Kayaks,’ and citizens can avail themselves of free kayaking during fixed time slots, while charges apply during other times.
A recent incident on April 5, 2023, involving a man whose kayak capsized, was captured on video and went viral. He was fortunately rescued by the contractor’s rescue boat. Following this incident and another similar accident involving a young woman, concerns regarding the safety of kayaking have come to the forefront.
The Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd. acknowledges that kayaking is an adventure activity with occasional risks of boat overturning. As a precautionary measure, citizens wishing to engage in kayaking are provided with verbal instructions and required to fill out a form and undergo an understanding session. To ensure safety, life jackets are provided to all users.
It has been revealed that the contractor had sought permission from officials by submitting an undertaking before initiating the boating service. However, the current arrangement places the responsibility on citizens in case of any accidents. Only if kayaking is deemed safe, citizens are required to fill out the form to ensure that the company bears no responsibility of any consequence.