Himachal villagers take up paragliding as an occupation

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Manali, Mar 19 (ANI): Villagers of a small village in Himachal Pradesh are taking up paragliding a profession as it is proving to be a lucrative source of income.

The villageof Burua, which is seven kilometres away from Manali, has produced over 200 paragliding pilots.

Roshan Lal Thakur, the man who brought the adventure sport of paragliding to the valley, believes that the sport can help the village youth to a great extent.

"When I initially started paragliding, then I didn't know that this will become a great source of income for the youth. I got into this because of my interest. But today I feel happy about the fact that the locals and the youth of the region are earning their bread and butter through it," said Thakur, who has represented India in the Asian Paragliding Championships in 2004.

Thakur further said that it was purely the initiative and drive of local youth which has made the sport accessible to tourists.

In 1995, Thakur started the first tandem commercial flight at Solang Nala in the valley and is now running a training school in Manali.

Initially, paragliding was a huge investment for the villagers, who otherwise cultivated potatoes and apples.

A single paraglider costs about Rupees 200,000-500,000. Fully trained paraglider pilots earn up to 1,000 rupees per day.

"Earlier, for earning their living, the locals used to sell potatoes and apples. But then the valley wasn't giving much profit with its cultivation. So, since 1989 when the tourists started coming here, so the locals started training as paragliding pilots. Now, the people are earning well through this profession," said Hira Lal, a professional paraglider pilot. (ANI)

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