The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday rapped the Amarnath Shrine Board for failing to provide adequate infrastructure facilities to pilgrims and directed the board to submit a status report on the same in the first week of December. The tribunal also sought to know if the board has complied with the Supreme Court’s 2012 directions to improve infrastructure to prevent casualties during the pilgrimage.
The tribunal today formed a committee of experts, headed by Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to recommend an action plan to the board on providing facilities to pilgrims. The facilities recommended include a properly constructed path and cleanliness in areas around the shrine.
The NGT’s directive comes days after it capped the number of pilgrims at Vaishno Devi shrine in J&K at 50,000 a day. In a bid to prevent any untoward incident, a bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had also directed authorities to construct a new path exclusively for pedestrians and fine pilgrims who are found littering. Read more here.
The Supreme Court had in 2012 set up a high-powered committee to recommend measures to prevent casualties during the Amarnath Yatra. The committee comprised senior officials from the Centre, Jammu and Kashmir government, security forces and the shrine board. The apex court had taken suo motu cogizance of media reports claiming a rise in casualties due to lack of infrastructure and medical facilities.
(With inputs from PTI)