NGT caps num­ber of pil­grims at Vaishno Devi at 50,000 per day

Millennium Post - - FRONT PAGE - MPOST BUREAU

In­volved as me­di­a­tor in Ram tem­ple dis­pute of my own will SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR

NEW DELHI: Only 50,000 pil­grims will be al­lowed to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu to avoid any un­to­ward in­ci­dent, the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal di­rected on Mon­day.

The green panel also said that a new path to the shrine ex­clu­sively for pedes­tri­ans and bat­tery-op­er­ated cars would be opened from Novem­ber 24.

The NGT di­rected that no horses or mules shall be al­lowed on the new route to the shrine and these an­i­mals shall be re­moved slowly from the old path as well.

It also di­rected the au­thor­i­ties to im­pose a fine (en­vi­ron­ment com­pen­sa­tion) of Rs 2,000 on any­one found lit­ter­ing the roads as well as the bus stop at the nearby Ka­tra town.

The NGT bench headed by chair­per­son Jus­tice Swatan­ter Ku­mar made it clear that if the num­ber of pil­grims ex­ceeds the pre­scribed 50,000 cap, they will be stopped at Ardhkuwari or Ka­tra town, con­sid­er­ing that the Vaishno Devi Bhawan struc­ture can­not ac­com­mo­date more than 50,000 per­sons.

The green panel’s di­rec­tions came dur­ing the hear­ing of a plea filed by an ac­tivist seek­ing in­struc­tions to stop the use of horses and ponies in Vaishno Devi shrine premises in Jammu, prompt­ing the green panel to so­licit a re­sponse from the gov­ern­ment on the is­sue.

The pe­ti­tioner had ex­pressed con­cern over the “pol­lu­tion and dan­ger to pub­lic health” caused by in­dis­crim­i­nate use of horses, ponies, mules and don­keys, to carry pil­grims and goods from Ka­tra to the Vaishno Devi tem­ple.

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