J&K: After cap on Vaishno Devi Pilgrims, NGT tightens nooze on Amarnath ‘Zone’

New Delhi, Nov 15: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday suggested that the Amarnath Shrine cave should be declared a silent zone to prevent avalanches. The green panel also ordered that throwing offerings and coconuts near the cave should be stopped.

The panel asked , “why Supreme Court’s orders of 2012 for protection of the area haven’t been followed?”

NGT also appointed a committee to oversee environment related issues at the shrine. The committee will also look after infrastructure for pilgrims who throng the holy shrine. It also asked why extra shops and toilet not removed as yet.

The National Green Tribunal is hyper-active as of now as far as environment protection at holy shrine is concerned. On Tuesday, the green panel had ruled that the daily footfall at Jammu’s Vaishno Devi shrine should be restricted to 50,000  per day. A bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that the Shrine could not accommodate more people in a day. The bench ordered that additional pilgrims should be stopped at Ardhkuwari or Katra town. The panel had also ordered that the newly-constructed path should be used for battery-operated cars from November 24.

The NGT had also ordered to bar mules and horses on the new path and eventually phase them out from the old path as well.

“The new path which was constructed for Rs 40 crore should be positively opened to public by November 24. No further time will be granted and, in default, appropriate action will be taken against the concerned authorities.,” it said.

NGT directed the authorities to impose a fine of Rs 2,000 on people who are found throwing garbage on the path and in Katra town. Around 30,000-50,000 people per day visit the shrine in peak season. The number dips to 6, 000 thousand per day during winter months.

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