DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Due to inadequate snowfall the International Ski Federation (FIS) race slated to be held at Auli in Chamoli district from January 15 to 21 has been postponed till February 16. This comes as a setback not only for the State looking to capitalise on the opportunity to boost winter tourism in Uttarakhand but also for Indian skiers looking to score well to qualify for the international winter Olympics slated to be held in the Republic of Korea from February 9.
The State Government was undertaking efforts to complete all preparations on time for the FIS event slated to be held from January 15 at Auli. The State’s Chief Secretary and Tourism Secretary had also been regularly monitoring works at Auli. On January 5, the Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj had also visited Auli to check the arrangements.
On Monday, the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) chairman JS Dhillon informed that though arrangements had been completed and artificial snow making machines were operating, technical experts evaluating the conditions at Auli found that due to inadequate quantity of natural snow on the slope, according to international standards, it is not possible to host the FIS event on the scheduled date.
A statement issued by the Government said that the situation could possibly be attributed also to abnormally high temperatures caused by global warming and resulting dearth of snowfall.
On the recommendation of the technical committee, the WGFI decided to postpone the FIS race to February 16. An FIS race slated to be held in Iran had also been postponed due to inadequate snow. Dhillon further said that even in European nations, FIS races at times are postponed due to inadequate snow.
According to the State Government, the meteorological centre has also forecast a rise in the maximum temperature with partially cloudy sky and clear weather during the coming week due to which the possibility of snowfall is minimal.
The tourism secretary Dilip Jawalkar said that even for the artificial snow making machines to be used effectively, -4 Celsius temperature and 40 to 60 per cent humidityis necessary. But, these two factors are not being experienced in Auli presently due to which the snow which used to take about 20 to 22 hours to melt is melting in 12-14 hours, he said. On the suggestion of the WGFI, the State Government has decided to hold the said event at Auli from February 16. It is worth mentioning here that skiers from France, Italy, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tajikistan and Luxembourg apart from about 70 skiers from India were expected to participate in the FIS race slated for January