NGT seeks report on MSW, STPs installed at Vaishno Devi shrine

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today directed the CEO of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to furnish a report giving details of the municipal solid waste (MSW) and sewage treatment plants (STPs) installed there.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar asked the board to inform it about about the “remedial steps” and measures taken to tackle the problem of MSW after a plea complained that a large amount of untreated solid and liquid waste generated by pilgrims as well as horses, mules and ponies was disposed directly into Banganga river.

“What is the status of MSW? Give us the complete details firstly on the remedial steps that you have taken and secondly the steps which you have taken to tackle the issue of MSW. How will you dump it and where will be the site for this? Give us details of all these facts,” the bench said.

The counsel appearing for the board told the green panel that a road, which would be used as a walking track to Bhawan, was under construction and it would be operational by end of November this year.

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He said that the road would be used for pedestrians and no horses or ponies would be allowed on it.

The bench has now fixed the matter for further hearing on September 28.

The tribunal was hearing a plea seeking directions to stop the use of horses and ponies in Vaishno Devi shrine premises in Jammu.

The plea has sought directions to ensure that no equines (horses, ponies, mules and donkeys) are used in the region of the Vaishno Devi shrine.

“The large number of growing pilgrims has a direct correlation to the increase in the use of equines employed to carry pilgrims and their luggage to and from the shrine during peak seasons such as Navratras and the holiday season…

“Consequently, large amounts of untreated solid and liquid waste generated by pilgrims are disposed directly into Banganga river. A large proportion of this waste is generated by the 15,000-20,000 horses, mules and ponies deployed to carry the pilgrims on the 14 km trail to the Mata Vaishno Devi temple,” the plea has said. (Agencies)