New Delhi: "Very poor" solid waste management, including dumping of dung, en route to the Vaishno Devi shrine and in Jammu and Katra towns has led the National Green Tribunal to ask top officials of the shrine board and civic bodies to appear before it next month.
"It has been brought to the notice of the tribunal that the municipal solid waste management is very poor at Jammu and Katra and passage upward to Bhawan and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi.
"Even the dung is dumped and is lying all over the passage which certainly is injurious to health," a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.
The green panel said it was also hearing a similar matter relating to diseases being caused by the spread of such waste as well as its harmful consequences to the wildlife there, particularly to horses.
The bench issued notices to representatives and officials of several bodies and sought a complete action plan on collection, transportation and disposal of all solid waste.
It asked Jammu Municipal Corporation's Commissioner, CEOs of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Katra Municipality, the presidents of unions of workers deployed along the route from Katra to Bhawan, president of union of horse owners to be present before it on the next date of hearing of the case.
The panel also issued notice to the member secretary of Pollution Control Board, owners of private properties located on the banks of river Ban Ganga and those providing sheds for pilgrims and throwing waste into the river.
The bench asked them to be present on the next date of hearing and posted the matter for December 2.
In another matter, the tribunal had on October 18, sought reply from the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Shrine Board on a plea to stop the use of equines (horses, ponies, mules and donkeys) on the 14 km-trail to the temple.
The plea has said that a large portion of waste is generated by the 15,000-20,000 horses, mules and ponies deployed to carry the pilgrims to the temple.