The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday pulled up the Amarnath Shrine Board for not providing toilets or other facilities to thousands of pilgrims travelling to the cave shrine in South Kashmir every year.
The panel objected to how the board has not complied with the directions that the Supreme Court had issued in 2012, PTI reported. The Supreme Court issued orders for better infrastructure at Amarnath after taking note of media reports that claimed the lack of infrastructure and medical facilities was leading to a rise in pilgrim casualties.
“There are no proper facilities for toilets,” NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said on Wednesday. “Do you even know how humiliating this is for women?”
The tribunal said it was unfair that the board was giving more priority to commercial activities than to pilgrims. “You have allowed shops on the path near the shrine. The sanctity of the shrine has to be maintained,” it said.
The tribunal formed a committee of experts headed by the additional secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and asked it to recommend to the Amarnath Shrine Board an action plan on what facilities can be provided for pilgrims.
In a similar order on Monday, the National Green Tribunal capped the number of devotees who can visit the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir a day at 50,000, and stopped all construction activities at the temple.