Monday, October 19, 2009

India’s First Permanent Bungee Jumping Facility In Bangalore

India’s First Permanent Bungee Jumping Facility In Bangalore
Vinay Madhav | TNN

Bangalore: The country’s first permanent bungee-jumping facility is coming up in Bangalore.
The Chamundi Hotel in the Bangalore Palace premises has signed an agreement with X-treme Zone, an adventure sports organization, to set up the facility. “We are planning to start the sport from the second week of December, if everything goes fine,’’ says Praveen Krishnaiah, who runs X-treme Zone.
However, they are treading cautiously, in the backdrop of the bungee jumping tragedy that took place near Bannerghatta last March. As a matter of fact, the facility was to be launched in April itself. On March 18, X-treme Zone also applied for police permission to start the facility, but decided to hold back after a marine engineer, Bhargav, from Chennai, was killed while doing a reverse bungee-jump near Bannerghatta.
“We asked the police to go slow on permission, after the mishap took place. Public sentiment was against the sport and we needed some time for things to settle down. However, we could not force these facts and needed to educate the people on the sport, before we took it up in a big way,’’ Praveen told TOI.
Praveen and his friends were trained to bungee jump in New Zealand. His organization has successfully conducted jumps across the country. The earlier idea was to set up bungee jumping as per the Standard Association of New Zealand, but now the organizers want to make it with German technology, with additional safety measures.
“We will start it only after completely being retrained by Germans and imbibe German technology. We want to build confidence among the people about the sport and are taking precautions at every step. We have also prepared a safety log, where the jumper is involved in the entire process,’’ Praveen said.
Though nowhere in the world are air bags used at the bottom of the bungee jumping facility, Praveen has decided to set up one. “As professional jumpers, we feel it is an obstruction. We are putting air bags with chambers, which will absorb the jumper in case of a fall, and not throw him out,’’ he said.
The promoters have decided to purchase a dedicated crane for the sport, instead of putting up a permanent structure. “A crane with 50-ton capacity will be used to lift 600 kg. Unlike a permanent structure, the fitness of the equipment can be easily determined,’’ he added.
BANNERGHATTA INCIDENT
It was in March that the first tragedy struck this sport in India. Bhargav, 25, while trying a reverse bungee jump, came crashing to the ground when the harness snapped.
Sachin, who had organized the bungee jumping, had not taken police permission to conduct the sport. Besides, he had added reverse bungee jumping at the last minute, after seeing the response of the crowd.
Sachin was not professionally trained, but had worked in X-treme Zone till 2006, and had handled over 15,000 jumps. Later, he had also organized a bridge bungee jump near
Haridwar. His next venture in 2009
was ill-fated.
Sachin is out on bail, but is facing charges of negligence, leading to the accident and violating provisions of the Places of Public Amusement Act. If proven guilty, he would have had to serve seven years in jail.

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