Jammu, The Hush Post: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has put a cap on the number of devotees to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu. Not more than 50,000 people should be allowed in a day to avoid any ‘untoward incident.’
The green panel’s bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that if the number of pilgrims exceeds the prescribed number, they will be stopped at Ardhkuwari or Katra because the Vaishno Devi Bhawan structure cannot accommodate more than 50,000 people. It also put a hold on new constructions inside the shrine complex.
A new path to the shrine which is located in the Trikuta Hills of Reasi district will be opened from November 24 for pedestrians and battery-operated cars. Also no horses or mules will be allowed on the new route and these animals ferrying pilgrims will be removed slowly from the old route as well.
The panel also directed authorities to impose a fine or an environment compensation of Rs. 2,000 for littering the roads as well as the bus stop at the nearby Katra town. The shrine board was set up in 1986 to improve the facilities and streamline the pilgrimage. The cave shrine attracted the highest number of pilgrims, a little over a crore, in 2012. Last year, more than 77 lakh pilgrims visited the holy shrine, as per the data of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board complex.