The presence of a crocodile near Baur reservoir, where 33rd National Kayaking and Canoeing competition is scheduled to be held, won’t impact the event, said an organizer on Saturday, not wishing to be named.
Recently, the Indian Kayaking and Canoeing Association had also conducted a trial and a training camp for the selection of a state team on July 20. A camp was also organized by the state association from July 20 to August 3 to select the state team for the event.
The four-day competition will be held from August 22 to 25 in Bour reservoir, 28 km from Rudrapur. According to the organizing committee around 700 participants and officials from 25 states are expected to take part in the event.
On Thursday, a six-feet long crocodile was spotted near the reservoir, stuck in the fencing. Even though the forest officials rescued it and released in the reservoir, a few apprehensions were raised pointing out the that the presence of the crocodiles might pose danger to the participants.
“We are fully prepared to organize the event as scheduled. The presence of water creatures in and near the water bodies is a common thing. Baur is a big reservoir and if a crocodile is spotted here, it is not a serious issue. A team from National Disaster Response Force will also be there with motor boats,” said Indian Kayaking and Canoeing Association , Uttarakhand unit , president Pushkar Jain on Saturday.
US Nagar district tourism officer PK Gautam said, “Previously, three national kayaking and canoeing competitions have been conducted in Baur reservoir. There is no danger, moreover, the crocodile was spotted in Haripura reservoir which is adjacent the Baur.” A technical committee has visited the area multiple times and has given the nod to hold the competition, he added.
Uttarakhand tourism department is sponsoring the event and a budget of over 50 lakh has already been sanctioned for the event, an official said.
Last month, forest officials of Khatima in US Nagar district had booked a few villagers involved in killing of a crocodile on the suspicion of a 13-year-old’s death.
In May last year, a crocodile was rescued by the villagers and forest officials in US Nagar. It was then released in Dhaura dam. In September 2020, an eight-year-old girl was killed by a crocodile in Haridwar forest division.
In Uttarakhand, crocodiles are found in the Corbett landscape, Terai area, US Nagar, some areas of Haridwar forest division and Rajaji National Park landscape.
According to the latest wildlife census released by the state forest department, crocodile numbers have increased in the state from 123 in 2008 to 451 in 2020.
Of the 23 crocodile species found in the world, India has three. Uttarakhand has two of the three species: Mugger Crocodile and Gharial (in Corbett landscape).