Civil Society Group to come up with report on Amarnath ecology
Srinagar, Aug 26: A Kashmir-based civil society group Sunday said it would file a representation before the High Powered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the cause for the death of Amarnath Yatris.
In a meeting here, the Kashmir Center for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) members unanimously pitched for having a ‘threshold limit’ on the number of Yatris visiting the cave shrine annually “to safeguard the highly fragile ecosystem of the area.”
“KCSDS after taking into consideration various opinions will come up with a document covering all aspects of the Yatra and its subsequent effect on the environment before the High Powered committee appointed by Supreme Court. We would also give the report to Governor and other official functionaries in Centre as well as state government,” said Hameeda Nayeem, the KCDS Convener KCSDS.
On August 13, the Supreme Court asked the Jammu and Kashmir Government to finish construction of roads and widening of passage to the Amarnath shrine before snowfall.
A Bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar passed the order after taking suo moto note of media reports of pilgrims' deaths allegedly due to lack of proper facilities and medical care for them.
The JK Chapter of the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN)—a Delhi based NGO—participated in today’s KCSDS meeting. The Chief Coordinator, IYCN J&K, Owaise Raheem and Project Coordinator, Reetu Asrani, made a presentation on ecological issues concerning Amarnath Yatra on Baltal route and also recommended solutions which can be implemented to avoid further damage to the fragile ecosystem of the region.
“Heavy influx of Yatris, lack of awareness, unhygienic conditions and absence of solid waste management system are the main causes which have resulted in deaths of Yatris,” Reetu said in the presentation. “Besides, instead of playing a lead role in helping yatris and providing information regarding different precautions, the office of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board at Balteng is always locked.”
Dr Mubeen Shah, a KCDS member, castigated the state government for not considering suggestions which were presented before it in 2008. “There has been no implementation of any of our suggestions,” he said adding that “this time we need to create awareness among people in to get more people on board.”
GH Kango, an environmentalist, said that there is a need to rope in experts from different part of the country and local environmentalists to conduct study about the impact of huge number of Yatris visiting the Cave. “The number of pilgrims visiting to shrine had already crossed the threshold and there is a dire need of establishing a threshold on how many Yatris should be allowed to visit the Cave in one season,” he said. If we fail to do that it would melt the glaciers and disturb the snow-water table. It will be the biggest threat to the water sources of the Valley.”
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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