By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 23 Jul: The Nainital High Court on Thursday issued a Contempt of Court notice to the District Magistrate of Rudraprayag, Saurabh Gaharwar, for disobeying its order regarding maintaining sanitation on the Kedarnath Yatra track.
In 2013, the management of the Kedarnath Yatra was taken over by the District Magistrate from the Zila Panchayat alleging that the latter was not discharging its duties regarding maintenance of the track and sanitation issues that arise because of the horses/mules used.
In 10 years, the sanitation situation remains grave and has worsened with carcasses of animals and slush caused by dung and animal urine making the Yatra a perilous and filthy experience for pedestrians.
Hearing a contempt petition filed by Gauri Maulekhi, Justice Ravindra Maithani has asked the DM, Rudraprayag, to respond to the following – (i) How the respondent had ensured the compliance of the Court’s order dated 10.05.2013? (ii) In the ongoing Yatra Season, what steps were taken to ensure the order dated 10.05.2013? What mechanism has been put to place to regularly check the cleanliness both, on the route as well as in the town of Kedarnath? (iii) Has the cleanliness been ensured by manual labour or some mechanical equipment have also been put in place? (iv) Who is bearing the expenses? (v) What amount was spent in maintaining cleanliness of the route as well as the town of Kedarnath during the present Yatra Season? (vi) To whom was the amount paid? How it was paid? Who paid it?
It has also been indicated in the order that the Court may appoint a Commissioner to physically check if any mechanism has been put in place to maintain sanitation.
As much of 2.5 lakh kilograms of dung and 1.5 lakh litres of urine are generated by 14,000 equines, and their carcasses are strewn along the Yatra track. The mountain, the people and the animals simply cannot sustain such abuse. Either the government should make arrangements to manage the lakhs of kilograms of dung and urine, or reduce the number of horses used for rides to Kedarnath.