THE PRIME Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to ensure that waste left behind by tourists in high-altitude locations in the country is removed. Disclosing this here on Saturday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Many of these high-altitude bases are not reachable by tourists like you and me but still some tourists manage to get there. The junk left behind (by the tourists) never decomposes because of conditions prevailing there. So one of the objectives of the Swachhta Abhiyan for us would be to go to those high-altitude positions and clean them.”
Kargil and Ladakh areas of Jammu and Kashmir, and Sikkim in the Northeast see a large number of tourists every year. At many remote locations, there is negligible presence of civilian administration, and only the Indian Army is present in numbers. The Defence Minister was in Kasauli, a hill town in Himachal Pradesh, to award Open Defecation-Free (ODF) certificates to eight cantonments under the Army’s Western Command. These are Amritsar, Dalhousie, Dagshai, Ferozepur, Jalandhar, Jutogh, Kasauli and Subathu cantonments.