The chanting and ringing the bell may have a dangerous impact on the environment in the south Kashmir valley, where the Amarnath temple is situated. Recently, NGT asked the Amarnath Shrine board about the poor infrastructure facility for the visiting pilgrims. There are not even proper toilet facilities for women.
NGT asked the board to stop their malpractices and follow the guidelines of the supreme court and NGT. The Amarnath shrine board is the manager for all the arrangement and development activity around the Amarnath temple. Board is responsible for this kind of activities since it is the sole authority, which has to decide for the construction activities around the temple. Given the rampant commercial construction activities around the Amarnath temple, it is no wonder that board was being rapped by the Supreme court and National Green Tribunal.
Amarnath Temple Visit
It is snow covered for most parts of the year and it is only during summers that pilgrims are allowed to visit the Amarnath temple. The temple has a special place in the hearts of people who follow Hinduism.
Each year lakhs of devotee visit the Amarnath temple to fulfil their wishes.People pay their visit to the temple and come back being blessed, but generate a lot of waste material in the way. NGT has formed a panel of experts comprising of the additional secretary of the ministry of environment and Forest. NGT is known for its tough guidelines and actions in the cases related to the environment. Amarnath shrine board has been asked to comply with the directions of the supreme court.
Bench asked the expert committee to consider making silence zones in the temple area. The tribunal also said people should not be allowed to carry their mobile phone after the last checkpoint.
The growing number of commercial activity poses a far greater challenge to the environment of Amarnath temple than chanting and “jayakaras”. How come so many private constructions took place without providing the basic necessity to the pilgrims is a matter of deep concern as already noted by the NGT. The bench headed by Justice Swantatra Kumar asked the committee of experts to submit its action plan on the facilities to be provided to the pilgrims.
Effect On the Environment
If you are wondering what do all these measures have a direct effect on the environment then the answer is in positive. The lack of proper facility for the pilgrims while the increase in the commercial activity is clear threat to the proper working of the Amarnath shrine board. The petition in the tribunal was filed by environmental activist Gauri Maulekhi.
The shrine board has been asked to submit a status report on the directions issued by the supreme court. The Bench has made it clear that those found to be meddling with the environment will not be spared. The environment is the first thing that should be taken care in the sensitive areas where lakhs of people visit every year. It is a matter of faith which can coexist along with nature as it has been since ages.