Amarnath Yatra: The Supreme Court Verdict

to discourage the use of water bottles in the Yatra area. The aim should be to provide a  viable alternative to plastic water bottles  in  due  course.

The SASB could also consider  introducing  a  “deposit amount” scheme under which the deposit  is  returnable when the  beverage  bottle  is  brought  back  to  the disposal site.

c) Pictorial signage (in place of the existing signage in Hindi and English) should be  used  at  all  prominent places. This would be helpful in  also  educating  the
Yatris about the need to keep the Yatra area free from plastic materials.

d) The SASB should suitably revise the existing Terms and Conditions    of    the    permissions    given     to LangarOrganisations to ensure  that  that  no  plastic material is used for serving food and beverages to the Yatris. There should be  adequate  monitoring  of  the implementation of these conditions and  all  cases  of non-adherence must be penalised severely.

9.3.9       All biological  waste  should  be  disposed  off  in compost pits, which should be built in  the  Langar  areas.  The Langar Organisations must be made fully responsible for  ensuring the segregation and safe disposal of wastes. Further, no  Langar site should be cleared without  the  availability  of  mandatory facilities for  waste  segregation  and  disposal.  SASB  should
establish a suitable monitoring mechanism in  this  regard.  The Terms   and   Conditions   of   the    permission    given    to the Langar Organisations must be revised to include the  aforesaid conditions as also a provision for the imposition  of  stringent penalties in the case of any default.

9.3.10      The  SHPC  suggests  that  an  increased  number  of garbage  bins,  with  pictorial  signage  for  segregating  bio-degradable waste from non  bio-degradable  ones,  would  further reduce littering in the Yatra area.

9.3.11      The concerned District Administrations must identify the sites and create this infrastructure  expeditiously  as  per the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, in consultation with the  SPCB.

This infrastructure is vital, not only for the Yatra,  but  also for the growing number of tourists and other  business  visitors in the larger area.

9.3.12      It must be ensured that  after  the  dismantling  of Yatra Camps and Langers, consequent to  the  conclusion  of  the Yatra, all solid waste is collected and properly disposed off by the relevant authorities. CEO, SASB, should in consultation with SPCB, put in place an appropriate monitoring mechanism  in  this regard.

9.3.13      The State R&B Department should urgently upgrade the road from RangaMorh to Domail so that it is  able  to  withstand the very heavy traffic during the Yatra period and  the  problem of dust and mud is controlled.

9.3.14      The SPCB should  conduct  analytical  studies  every year to monitor the quality of water in Lidder and Sindh  rivers and share the findings, along with actionable suggestions,  with SASB and the State Government. The  SPCB  also  needs  to  early upgrade its own testing facilities.


9.4.1 The following issues were required to be examined  by  the SHPC

a)     Registration of yatris at Jammu, Srinagar, Baltal and Panchtarni.

b)     It should also consider the  possibility  of  limited number of yatris being released from Srinagar  to  Baltal to ensure  better  management,  hygiene,  healthcare  and betterment of the yatris, who stay their overnight.

c)     Medical examination at the time of  registration  and on way.

d) It should be  examined  by  SHPC  in  its  meeting  if  a transparent device made of  glass,  fiber  or  any  other material, which is scientifically permissible, be  placed at the Cave where iron grills have been fixed as of  now. The iron grills serve no required purpose. Firstly, –  it obstructs the view  of  the  yatris  during  darshan  and secondly, they are not safe and even pass the human  heat which results in early melting of the Shivalingam.

9.4.2       The SHPC makes the following recommendations  vis-a-vis the issues listed above:

9.4.3.      The SASB will continue to determine,  from  year  to year, the maximum number of pilgrims to be allowed to embark  on the  tracks,  after  taking  into  consideration   the   weather condition  and  forecasts,  track   conditions,   infrastructure available in the enroute Camps and at the Holy Cave (which would include the handling capacity at  the  Shrine),  other  required facilities  etc.  Once  the   required   decisions   have   been
communicated by the CEO, SASB, the Police shall ensure that  the number of pilgrims who are allowed  to  cross  over  the  Access Control Gates possess valid Yatra  Permits  for  that  date  and route.

9.4.4        CEO,  SASB,  should  arrange  the  widest  possible publicity of all registration related matters,  particularly  in the  States  from  where  larger  numbers  of  pilgrims  arrive.

Further,  Public  Interest  Messages  would  also  need  to   be broadcast   through   radio,   television   and   print   media, particularly in the regional languages.

9.4.5       On-Spot registration of  pilgrims  at  Srinagar  and Base Camps of Baltal and Nunwan should be discouraged. A pilgrim seeking advance registration, in  his  home  State,  provides  a useful  opportunity  to  educate  him  about  the   difficulties involved in the journey, health related  precautions,  Do’s  and
Don’ts, basic  minimum  clothing  I  accessories  required  etc.

Further, the period after registration and  before  commencement of the  Yatra  would  enable  the  pilgrim  to  prepare  himself suitably to proceed on a difficult pilgrimage.

9.4.6       As in the case  of  advance  registrations,  On-Spot registrations should also specify a specific date and route  for the applicant to  commence  his  journey.  The  pilgrim  may  be allowed to commence his Yatra on the same day only if the number of pilgrims registered for that particular  date  is  below  the
registration ceiling prescribed by the SASB.

9.4.7       There should be strict compliance of  allowing  only those pilgrims who possess valid Yatra Permits for that date and route to cross the  Control  Gates.  To  facilitate  the  Police personnel deployed at the Access Control  Gates  in  determining whether the Yatri possesses a valid Yatra Permit for  the  given date and route the SASB may adopt colour coding of Yatra permits i.e. the Yatra Permit would be of a given colour for each day of the week.

9.4.8       Effective enforcement at the  Access  Control  Gates would be crucial for securing satisfactory Yatra management. The District Magistrate and the District Police will be  responsible for enforcing effective Access Control.

9.4.9        The  pilgrims  should  be  released   in   batches, reasonably spread out over a specified period  in  the  day,  to avoid any congestion on the tracks. The SHPC also suggests  that SASB may consider indicating the “reporting time” on  the  Yatra Permits, along with the date and route of the pilgrimage.

9.4.10      The SHPC recommends that the J&K Police and  Central Armed Police  Forces  should  enlarge  the  provision  of  basic requirements  like  tents,  bedding,  toilets  etc.   to   their personnel deployed on Yatra  duty,  in  order  to  provide  them better working conditions.

9.4.11      Regarding the  matter  related  to  provision  of  a transparent device made of glass, fiber etc, the SHPC is of  the considered opinion that the SASB is the right  forum  to  decide any issue related to the preservation of the Ice Lingam  in  the Shrine and taking all required steps for providing  satisfactory


9.5.1 The following issues were required to be examined  by  the SHPC

a)    Construction of proper passages, wide enough and with due support on both sides, for the traffic of pedestrian yatris, on horses and by palkis from Panchtarni  to  the Holy Cave.

b)    Providing of one-way passage  with  separate  tracks, one for pedestrians and other for horses, carriages  and palkis near the Shrine.

c)    The manner and methods to be adopted to  attain  the, above,  with  least  damage  or  interference  with  the environment of entire zone right from Baltal to the Holy Cave from different routes.

9.5.2       The SHPC makes the following recommendations  vis-a-vis the issues listed above:

9.5.3       Keeping in view the need to provide safe and  smooth passage to  the  Yatris,  particularly  during  the  peak  Yatra period, when there is acute congestion  on  the  tracks  due  to simultaneous movement of pedestrian Yatris and those on  ponies/ palkis in the limited space that is available, and also  keeping in view the environmental  concerns,  the  Committee recommends that the following works should be approved  and  taken  up  for
implementation on a fast track basis:

• Improvement of critical stretches of the existing  track  from Baltal to Holy Cave as per the preliminary  details  presented in Annex. – 4, to be implemented by the State  PWD,  with  the assistance, as may be required, from other organizations  such as Border Roads Organisation (which can mobilise in  the  area quickly).

• Provision of one-way passage with separate tracks, one for the


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