NGT forms panel to oversee facilities in Amarnath

first_imgComing down heavily on the Amarnath Shrine Board for not providing enough infrastructure to devotees, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday constituted a committee of experts to maintain the “sanctity of the shrine”.Directing the board to build eco-friendly washrooms, a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatatnter Kumar said: “There are no proper facilities for toilets. Do you even know how humiliating this is for women? You have allowed shops on the path near the shrine. You are giving priority to commercial activities over pilgrims.”The panel asked the committee to consider the construction of an iron bridge from Panchawati to the steps of the shrine in order to protect the glaciers. The tribunal also directed the authority to remove an iron rod from the cave to facilitate devotees offering prayers. The NGT has also asked the committee to take enough measures to ensure that pilgrims did not pollute the cave with the material they carried inside.The committee set up by the green panel is headed by the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), and comprises scientists, officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board, petitioner Gauri Maulekhi and others.The committee has been asked to file a report before the tribunal by the first week of December on aspects like providing proper paths for devotees.On Monday, while hearing Ms. Maulekhi’s plea, the NGT capped the number of devotees at Vaishno Devi to 50,000 a day. The directions came after the petitioner had alleged that due to the increasing number of devotees at shrines, the ecosystem was being damaged.last_img read more