Assam: Magisterial inquiry ordered into death of tourist in paragliding accident

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A magisterial inquiry was ordered into the death of a 35-year-old tourist in a paragliding accident in a resort located in a sandbar in Dibru river in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pankaj Gogoi hailing from Lakhimpur district, died after he fell from a parachute in Skyland resort in Tinsukia district’s Guijan. The inquiry report is to be submitted within three days.

“We ordered the inquiry yesterday. All activities have been suspended in the resort,” said Pawar Narsing Sambhaji, Tinsukia DC.

The incident has not just put the resort’s safety measures under scanner, but questions are also being raised whether it had requisite legal permissions to function considering it allegedly falls within the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.

“We have sent notices to the resort as well as asked the Divisional Forest Officer, Tinsukia Wildlife, for his statement,” said a Tinsukia district official.

The resort is inaccessible for most part of the year, when the Dibru river is in spate. “The resort is only open to tourists when the river dries up in the winter months,” the official said.

In 2020, a controversy over the resort’s functioning erupted when locals had pointed out that it falls under the ESZ.

“Back then, a notice was sent by the district administration and a team was formed by the Forest Department to look into it. It was submitted that the resort was not a part of the draft ESZ and that the activities were permissible,” said the district official.

“However, we are going to look into it again and take necessary action, if required,” he added.

Located on the south bank of the Brahmaputra, the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park spreads over 340 sq km, and is home to a host of flora and fauna, including feral horses, elephants, tigers as well as a variety of threatened bird species.

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